COP and Multicultural Community
There have been concerns that armed robberies taking place around the town, especially in the Anytown shopping mall, have increased in the past few weeks. Robberies have had adverse consequences such as unemployment, loss of local government revenue, fear experienced by the community members, and general insecurity of citizens. The existing social forces responsible for the situation include the lack of proper administration of the homeless individuals living near the mall and on the second level of the multilevel parking lot. Besides, according to the investigation, the inadequate security measures and procedures have contributed to the armed robberies. For instance, the multilevel parking lot has poor lighting, which means that muggers can commit unwarranted actions. Apart from poor lighting, the shopping mall has no security gate. Furthermore, the heaps of wastes and camps within shops create an environment for transients to call home. Finally, the guard shack is obscurely positioned, limiting full eye view of activities taking place in the parking lot. Before the community-oriented policing (COP) program can be implemented, the above problems must be addressed. Therefore, this memo discusses the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of the COP program aimed at reducing and even eliminating the level of crime in Anytown.
For any COP program to be successful, an organizational transformation in the department is necessary. Success also depends on two other factors, namely the community partnership and problem solving. Therefore, the organizational transformation will start from the preparation of the department for the implementation and the evaluation of the program. First, the department should roll out a plan for either geographically based community policing, a decentralized model of community policing, or both. The geographically based community policing will entail placing different police officials in various neighborhoods. At the same time, a decentralized model will allow police personnel to make decisions in a legal context, affecting the community members without a top-down protocol. In addition, during the preparation process, the department will need to increase the number of locations where the community members in the neighborhoods can easily access police services.
Apart from the police officers of the department, special interest groups also will be involved in the preparation, which will include all the neighborhood associations. They comprise faith-based organizations, local government agencies, business groups, tenant councils, social service providers, both elementary and secondary schools, and local businesses. Their involvement in this program is not only important, but it will also affect the results. Particularly, the involvement of the mentioned groups will enhance the effectiveness of the program as they embrace merely all spheres of the community. Moreover, the fact that the crime levels are an obstacle to normal or daily activities acts as a motivating factor to report any incidences within their region. Active involvement of the groups will eventually contribute to increased policing in all areas and thus a successful program. The inclusion of the groups in the programs will also increase the levels of trust, especially among minority community members who sometimes receive unfair treatment.
The program cannot be implemented without the proper gathering of information. Information collected goes a long way in ensuring complete planning and inclusion of all concerned factors. Although it does not depend entirely on the information collected, COP approach in the Anytown Police Department is vital to the success of the program. Therefore, the department will collect information from different sources. These sources will be business people in the shopping mall, customers who frequent the mall, security officers stationed at various points of the mall, a security camera recording, and members of the public. The information to be gathered will revolve around the number of crime cases in the mall, times it occurred, the arrangement of the armed robberies, security details of the shopping mall, surveillance cameras at different spots, and any unofficial activities that take place. In the collection of data, statistics, facts, and opinions will be heard from people of different age and gender, who come from various racial, social, and ethnic backgrounds in the community (Jackson & Bradford, 2010). Such an approach will enable the department to compile a comprehensive list of facts and data important in the program.
Daily operations in the police department will change due to the program. Areas affected by the transformation will comprise management, management policies, personnel, personnel practices, the information technology systems, and other operations and traditions. In the daily operations, some of the anticipated transformations will include increased day and night community patrols to increase security and to allow the public to provide new information or report incidences.
On the other hand, the implementation of the COP program will also affect the organizational culture of the police department. For example, a decreased reliance on the top-down directives from department leadership will highlight the changes. In addition, a reporting structure of not limited hierarchical traditions will be devised, which in essence is a change in the culture. Discretion will also mark one of the cultural changes since the personnel will have to come up with creative solutions to specific neighborhoods. Moreover, the personnel will probably be exempt from overly rigid policies of the department. Another transformation will be in the evaluation and hiring of officers, which will be based more on their community policing efforts and their ability to serve in the community.
The community partnership with the enforcement arm warrants the failure or success of the program in any community. The community members in all their various groups, races, gender, ethnic background, religion, and ages need to be included in the program and be fully involved. Joint efforts of the community members and the police department facilitate the effectiveness and the success of the program. It is critical to involve special interest groups since the crime affects them and disrupts their normal activities. However, it is worth noting that success is not measured by the mere frequency of contact and sharing information between the community members and police officers but by the reduction of crime rate in the community (Brown, 2007). The relationship is a partnership, which presupposes that one cannot succeed without another. Therefore, constant and consistent efforts spent at working out meaningful ways of dealing with rising problems in the community should be devised.
Different ranges of groups in the community give ground for further networking and partnership. For instance, the black community, which in some cases is neglected or unfairly treated, can provide the police with necessary details on the activities around the neighborhood. Other smaller groups and the minority can extend by creating a relationship between them and the police (Reisig, 2010). In addition, the police can decide to provide the minority groups with increased access to their resources and other police services.
The community can be involved in the COP program by providing public meeting spaces for purposes of discussion of the issues and problems. The community engagement can also be increased by improving the accessibility of the police services by the community. Moreover, the communication channels can also be established to include the opinion of the community members, such as the minority groups. Apart from communication channels, technology can be utilized to receive alerts, tips, and feedback from the members through sending emails or short messages. A website for reporting incidences and providing a feedback can also be created. Thus, by using the media platforms, the program can be promoted to the community (Schneider, Chapman, & Schapiro, 2009). The media can also be used as a tool for the increased knowledge of what the program will entail; hence helping program be more effective.
Trust and mutual respect have to exist between the community and the police for increased effectiveness. The police misconduct is a contributing factor to the decreased trust levels; thus, the rebuilding of the trust is critical (Amadi, 2014). To have an authentic and effective partnership between the community and the police, trust and mutual respect have to be maintained and preserved.
Timelines have to be provided for the implementation of the program to observe its efficiency and effectiveness. The program should begin immediately after the following changes effected:
- Basic upgrade of security systems and repair of security issues such as the installment of a security gate and the repair of the lighting at the parking lot.
- Identification of the experienced and accepted leaders by the community members for protocol purposes.
- Deployment of different officers to various neighborhoods.
- Transformation of the system and operations of the police department.
Implementation of the COP program will involve different groups of people, namely the department, the management, and personnel. The community members will also take part in the implementation process, playing an important role in forging a partnership with the department. The involvement of different groups necessitates the implementation of certain special activities. Some of the special activities include installing basic security measures around the shopping mall and other strategic locations in the town. Another special activity would be having the local government launch the program such that its awareness and presence is made known to all.
This step involves the monitoring and the evaluation of the COP program after the initial implementation. The appointed officials and management can carry out this process. Evaluation can be based on the number crimes cases reported, meaning that reduced numbers of cases will imply that the program is working (Reisig, 2007). Initial monitoring and evaluation may also include the number of households in a neighborhood, the family members, and their occupation. People around should be made aware of the program instead of assuming that they know. Creating awareness should be a part of the preliminary and initial monitoring for increased effectiveness.
Evaluation And Monitoring
In the evaluation of the COP program, feedback is crucial in indicating the success rate of implementation. The feedback should be received from the police personnel, community members, business people who have shops in the shopping mall, other business people in the community, and the organizations (Terpstra, 2010). However, the feedback will depend on whether the program is working or failing. In this case, the number of cases and the incidences reported through the COP program will determine the success. If the COP program is working, the number of reported cases will reduce drastically while the opposite will mean the failure of the program. The feedback will include the number of criminal activities, as well as the place and time they were committed. The community can also give feedback concerning areas that need to be covered in terms of resources and police services (Morabito, 2008). Any progress and complains also fall under feedback and thus can be counted as a way of monitoring and evaluation.
Assessing the program for continued success will also depend on the results from the program and the implementation of measures as planned. In addition, assessment can be done by hiring external help such as an auditing to see the progress (Jackson & Bradford, 2010). On top of that, the department should have the paperwork showing the changes and the results in terms of numbers and graphs in the crime rates. Community members should also be a good source of assessment where they are given the responsibility of giving feedback on what is not working. Through and frequent assessment of the program should be made from time to time as an evaluation process of seeing whether it is still effective.
Poverty is known to be one of the contributing factors to an increase in crime, which can stem from the economic decline. During the economic decline periods affecting certain groups in the communities, the problem can be addressed in the program by helping the families receive welfare services for basic needs (Brown, 2007). The main challenges would be to help everyone within these groups in a way that keeps them from committing a crime. This situation would put a strain on the COP program because it will in one way or another mean that the aim of the program is blurred to help citizens not to engage in criminal activities.
Furthermore, terrorist attacks tend to instill fear in the community affected and should be covered in the preparation if they happen. A presence of mutual trust between the community and the police, as well as an increase in security personnel can help deal with the fear instilled in the community.