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Aspects of Policing - Research Paper Example

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Running Head: RESPONDING TO SOCIETAL CHANGES: COMMUNITY POLICING Responding to Societal Changes: Community Policing [Name] [University] Responding to Societal Changes: Community Policing Introduction When reviewed from an analytical perspective the goals, "to serve and protect," become blurred the closer one scrutinizes the operation of law enforcement agencies (Byrne & Pease, 2008)…
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Download file to see previous pages In essence, the same words, "to serve and protect," might be on many police departments' patrol cars, but interpretation is left wide open to the many analysts engaged in the field. Body Traditionally, police officers have been viewed as soldiers engaged in a war on crime. This view has had the detrimental effect of focusing on ineffective strategies for crime control while resulting in a major cause of police violence and civil rights violations. The "war model" inaccurately portrays a ‘search and destroy’ mentality to banish crime, disorder, and the scourge of drugs (Byrne & Pease, 2008). According to DeParis (2000) it does not help that many police departments continue to use a bureaucratic, closed-system approach in an ever-changing and intrusive external environment. Such an environment results in an unstable situation (p. 108). Nevertheless, noteworthy changes in the policing philosophy have resulted in the movement towards community policing. Many feel that this movement is the result of police that have not been accountable to the community, but have served status quo interests. Researchers declare that the conversion from traditional policing to a community-oriented approach will be one of the most significant challenges affecting police organizations today (Gilling, 2007). With the help of responsible citizens and progressive police administrators there have been tremendous accomplishments in developing a form of policing that better meets the needs of the community. But Goldstein (2000) complains that the term "community policing" tends to be used indiscriminately to encompass the most ambitious project in policing to the most mundane, without regard for its true meaning. Politicians, administrators and police executives exacerbate the problem by misleading citizens into expectations that community policing will provide instant solutions not only for the problems of crime, disorder, and racial tension but for many of the other acute problems that plague the community as well. Of course, the failure of superficial programs with the community-policing label then adds to the frustration of not only the community, but also the police officers involved (Jean, 2007), One reaction in the law enforcement community has been to attempt definition and simplification of the community policing model. This presents a problem for such a complex process as policing. In fact, Goldstein (2000) argues, the field already suffers because so much in policing is oversimplified (p. 72). The criminal justice system has traditionally categorized and defined crime, violence, and disorder into simple convenient terms that act to disguise amorphous, complex problems. Oversimplification places a heavy burden on the police and complicates the police task. Goldstein (2000) explains that the police respond with such equally simplistic terms as "enforcement" and "patrol" in which the community is familiar but does not understand the methods they embrace or their value. Goldstein (2000) is concerned that if community policing is used as just another generic response or simplistic characterization of the police function this truly innovative approach will quickly lose credibility (p. 72) Another concern for police executives making the transition to community policin ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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