This paper deploys a Community Policing and Problem Solving Method (COPPS) in the process of pursuing a just course in the curbing a serious ongoing crime problem in the Westwood community. The paper applies the scanning, analysis, response, and assessment (SARA) principle in the tasking the COPPS philosophy towards addressing the community’s crime problems of street racing and underage drinking problem. The SARA principle gives a wide spectrum of problem solving framework in which this papers finds critical in the process of giving a comprehensive and an inclusive fact finding and resolutions to the Westwood community crime problems.
The Westwood Community crime problems of street racing and underage drinking problem has become an overwhelming concern in which the community’s police departmental special response unit need to address. In response to framing a course of action towards curbing the community’s problem the police special response unit has to deploy a community policing and problem solving method (COPPS).
The Westwood Community police department has to adopt a COPPS philosophy in addressing the crime and disorder experienced within this vicinity with regards to a move towards community-oriented policing(Skogan, 2009). This report presents a given aspect of the size and complexity of the COPPS initiative in generating significant changes in the department’s structure and goals in its course of implementation effort. The policing field has been littered with failed efforts geared towards changing police organizations (Reviews, 2013). This report acknowledges that translating the abstract concepts of community policing into the day-to-day steps which the police officers would follow has been complicated, and motivating officers to follow such practical instructions is difficult.
This paper outlines that, in the spirit of addressing these crimes in the Westwood Community, the department’s COPPS initiatives are coordinated by police officers who act as a resource to the Department and the Community in promoting the philosophy and the principles of COPPS(Skogan & National Institute of Justice (U.S.),2000). The COPPS officers ensure provision of training resources, leadership and assistance to the department’s personnel and the residents of Westwood Community in an effort to implementing community policing. The report gives a detailed information on the examination of criminal activities in Westwood Community on the frontier of scanning, analysis, response, and assessment (SARA) method. This is undertaken through the SARA steps in problem solving process as explained herein.
This first step of the SARA framework outlines that the individuals in the community determine the ongoing crime problems of street racing and underage drinking problem through personal experience with the location, behavior, or the activity that has come to community/police attention. This is further undertaken through initiating communication or gathering of data from businesses, residents, other private or public agencies, other employees, or other officers (Peak, 2013).
The scanning process must illustrate that the crime problems of street racing and underage drinking problem have been witnessed in two or more incidents which are similar in nature, are causing harm or possibly have the potential of causing harm and there is enough expectation from the public that the police agency would handle the problem. That is a confirmation that there is an existence of a substantial and persistent problem in the community.
The analysis stage ensures that the police officers tasked with carrying out the COPPS initiative develop a more comprehensive understanding of the overall problem. This stage constitutes the basic foundations as the effective tailor-made responses cannot be framed unless what is causing the problem is identified. Therefore the stage sets the foundation for the identification of response strategies, partnerships and resources for dealing with the specific problem.
The stage involves learning everything possible about the actions, incidents, and players that have already been used in trying to deal with the community’s problem. The analysis should be creative, innovative, and thorough as the response since the characteristics of each problem are varied(Peak, 2013). This would include the use of data to understand and define the specific problem, scrutinizing the history of the type of problem and identification of helpful resources.
The response stage is purposefully designed to develop an overall strategy which is specifically intended to address the community problem. The stage involves three main tasks which include developing the response options, selecting the response, and implementing the response. The solutions as a result of employing the best strategy can be designed to:
- Reduce the harm that could be created by the problems.
- Ensure reduction of the problem.
- Deal with the problem better.
- Eradicate the problem.
- Facilitate removal of the problem from the police consideration, thus the invested party gives the problem to the agency or the individual who would handle the problem better.
The success of the response stage is pegged on the degree to which a thorough analysis of the underlying community’s crime problems has been conducted.
This stage ensures that there is evaluation of both the process and the impact of the applied response strategy. This evaluate whether the response strategy was sufficiently linked to the identified problem (Skogan, 2009).
Like any other community in the neighborhood, Westwood Community needs to formulate practical ways of measuring and monitoring the problem-solving efforts of teams, units and the individual officers, and to assess their effectiveness. The report notes that the community association of Westwood Community has police departments which have a great deal of difficulty in the determination of whether any problem solving is being undertaken and if so, if it is of any good to the community in entirety. The police officer get on duty at nights alone or in pairs, and work largely without direct supervision. Generally, the departments can keep track of only their most overt activities, that is, how fast they drive, how many calls they respond to, how often they show up late for work, whether they arrest anyone or hand out enough tickets, and whether they attract any formal complaints from civilians (Skogan & National Institute of Justice (U.S.), (2000).
The Community Policing and Problem Solving philosophy advances the practice of community policing by the Westwood Community and the law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources. The COPPS concept rather than simply responding to the crimes once they have been committed, community policing concentrates on the prevention of crime and the elimination of the atmosphere of fear it creates. The process ensures that there is earning of trust of the community and making those individuals stakeholders in their own safety enables law enforcement to better understand and address both the needs of the entire community and the factors that contribute to crime.