The concept of community policing has been defined differently with most scholars assuming a categorical style of definition in order to avoid the risk of generalization. According to the United States Department of Justice, community policing is law enforcement strategy where police officers largely engage the community in crime prevention and in maintenance of social order. Although the concept of community policing is defined in various ways, majority of scholars agree that it involves three philosophies. First, it is widely accepted that successful community policing is achieved through creation and reliance on effective community partnerships and other private-sector resources. Second, community policing requires careful application of problem-solving tactics. Third, effective implementation of community policing requires transformation of police organization and culture (Somervile, 2009).
According to Somervile (2009), for successful community policing to occur, citizens must be empowered to prevent problems that are believed to be the causes of crime. Therefore, law enforcement must maintain a mutual trust with members of a given community in order to obtain valuable information that can lead to crime prevention. In addition, through community partnerships, law enforcement can easily identify possible terrorist threats in the community before a terror attack is executed. Effective community policing entails timely identification of threats and vulnerabilities and proper sharing of information in case of attack (Yero et al., 2012).
The best way to minimize and avoid impacts of crimes identified in the community is through problem solving. During problem solving, law enforcement agencies assume that individuals should make decisions based on opportunities presented to them. Prior to identifying the most appropriate remedies for problems identified in the community, police officers must first manipulate the physical and social factors in the environment in order to eliminate things that influence people to engage in offensive behavior. Law enforcement organizations must be ready to transform their values, procedures and processed in order to carry out effective community policing. Specifically, law enforcement agencies must integrate procedures and policies of community policing into their systems. In addition, these agencies must incorporate community policing philosophy into their training programs, hiring practices, promotional strategies, and performance evaluation practices (Somervile, 2009).
Community policing is highly relevant in the modern society where criminals and now using advanced approaches to carry out offensive activities. There is therefore great need for nations to do their best to support community policing. The United States, for instance, has put in place huge a mounts of financial resources to support community policing. With the past two year, the national government put aside close to 18 billion dollars for the implementation of community policing. Part of this money is used to educate police officers on how community policing should be conducted (Yero et al., 2012). As Yero et al. (2012) points out, police officers must be taught on how to deal with terrorism threats considering the fact that the modern community is facing increasing cases of terrorism threats. Additionally, new community members should be trained on new strategies for securing their neighborhoods as an initial step towards effective community policing.
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