Community Policing

ILJ has been a leader in the field of community policing since the early 1980s. ILJ has assisted small and large jurisdictions implement both the philosophy and practice of community policing and learn how to work with community members as active participants to solve community problems and enhance safety and quality of life in neighborhoods. ILJ has conducted numerous research studies about implementation challenges and successes, helped law enforcement agencies develop strategic plans to implement community policing, and partners with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to study and document this important law enforcement innovation.

Current and Past Projects

Organizational Transformation to Community Policing

This study for the National Institute of Justice examined critical elements in the successful transformation of a traditional style police department to one that is community policing oriented. The project resulted in a better understanding of the issues involved in organizational transformation for police. In addition to a national survey and a leadership symposium, four sites (San Diego, Portland, St. Petersburg, and Tempe) that had established themselves as leaders in community policing were examined through detailed case studies, including interviews and focus group meetings. Study results helped identify "best practices" for communities and local governments regarding community policing.

Guidebook for Police Practitioners on Designing and Implementing Call Management Strategies to Support Community Policing

For the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) ILJ developed a practical, easy-to-use guidebook for police practitioners on designing and implementing call management strategies to support community policing. The first step in the project involved developing and pre-testing a survey on call management strategies. The questionnaire was mailed to approximately 700 large, medium-sized, and small policing agencies throughout the country. Based on the results, ILJ identified alternative call management strategies. From 30 departments contacted by phone, brief case study reports were written and several police departments were chosen for site visits and detailed analysis. Finally, a guidebook was created for police practitioners on designing and implementing call management strategies to support community policing.

Weed and Seed Technical Assistance

ILJ coordinates all training and technical assistance for the national Weed and Seed initiative for the Community Capacity Development Office, U.S. Department of Justice. Weed and Seed grantees target violent and drug-related crime in specific neighborhoods; implement community policing strategies; and bring in human services and other resources to revitalize neighborhoods and improve residents’ quality of life. There are now over 300 jurisdictions designated as Weed and Seed sites. ILJ establishes mechanisms to support the Weed and Seed technical assistance, electronic communications, Internet website, conferencing for the sites, online resources and experts’ files, and follow-up to ensure satisfaction.

ILJ has also developed and delivered training curricula in community policing, community mobilization and empowerment, implementing safe havens, firearms abatement initiatives, coordination and collaboration, and evaluating programs. In addition, ILJ staff helped draft the Weed and Seed Operations Manual.

Tempe, Arizona, Police Department Organizational Development and Implementation of Community Policing

ILJ worked with the Tempe, Arizona, Police Department to assist in implementing a comprehensive community policing program. Designed with help from ILJ, the community policing program involved engaging the communities and neighborhoods in co-producing public safety; decentralizing decisionmaking down to the field services level; improving training (recruit and in-service) to meet the needs of community policing; restructuring the organization and delivery of services to enhance community policing; interacting with other city agencies to solve neighborhood problems; and more.

Tempe also worked with seven other police agencies in a national innovative community policing development program sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. This project involved establishing a special community policing squad to combat drug-related problems and crime. ILJ provided training, technical assistance, and an evaluation of the project, which included the following elements:

  • Detailed beat profiles
  • Door-to-door surveys of residents and businesses
  • A computerized intelligence and information system
  • A communications network with residents of the target beat
  • Development and implementation of drug demand reduction strategies
  • Evaluation of project impact.

ILJ’s evaluation of community policing in Tempe covered the planning approach taken by the department, the problems encountered in implementing geographic deployment, and the results of problem solving efforts. Communication strategies such as citizen meetings and neighborhood involvement in identifying and solving problems were important factors. Over 700 residences in the initial community policing beat were surveyed to test recognition of the neighborhood officers who had participated in neighborhood association meetings. Citizen perception of drug activity, officers’ attitudes about their work assignments, and cooperative problem solving efforts were assessed. Changes in field operations included beat teams with responsibility for specific geographic areas, increased empowerment of sergeants to form neighborhood coalitions, an increased number of Community Service Officers, more classroom and field training in community policing strategies, and a flatter police organization.

Portland, Oregon, Future Plan for Community Policing

The City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau had been recognized nationally for more than a decade for their leadership in community policing. In 1998, ILJ was selected to help the Bureau "take community policing to the next level in the 21st Century." Over a three-month period, ILJ facilitated 42 separate focus groups, which included nearly 470 participants. These participants represented all ranks and functions in the Bureau; other city agencies; public officials; business; groups representing the diversity of populations in Portland; national experts; police officials from other jurisdictions; and many others. In addition, the work included review of extensive background materials, including existing strategic plans, recent community and employee surveys, crime and workload statistics, demographic data, and other reports and materials. In addition to a comprehensive future plan for policing services in the city, study products included separate reports on each category of focus group and a special report on demographic trends in the Portland metro area.

Computer Aided Dispatch in Support of Community Policing

ILJ conducted this research project to determine the extent to which computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems can support community policing and measure performance under new community policing objectives. The study was sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) under its “Measuring What Matters” initiative. The researchers found that CAD systems have much to offer community policing because of the richness of the basic data that is collected. However, CAD can be even more effective if enhancements are made that directly support community policing.

Community Policing Training in Kentucky

In a collaborative effort with Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training, Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Kentucky State Police, ILJ developed, delivered, and evaluated community policing training in Kentucky. Almost 200 new Kentucky officers had been funded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice, or its predecessor agency. The goal was to give one or more form of community policing training to every newly funded officer. The majority of law enforcement in the state of Kentucky is rural, and seven types of training in community policing were offered:

  • Train the Trainer
  • COP for Police Officers
  • COP for Managers
  • Chiefs/Sheriffs Seminars
  • Command Decision Training
  • Intensive Problem Solving Training
  • Self-Paced Self Study

For evaluation purposes, numerous pre- and post-measurements were employed.

City of Temple, Texas, Organizational Development and Community Policing Technical Assistance

ILJ provided technical assistance to the City of Temple, Texas, to reengineer the agency's services. ILJ assessed the organization's needs and developed an approach for training all police department personnel in necessary skills for strategic planning and community policing, such as:

  • Community organization
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • Conflict resolution
  • Negotiation
  • Customer service.

On a continuing basis, ILJ assisted police middle management in Temple in strategic planning, values and goals statements, performance analysis, policies and procedures, and managing change. Temple’s Community Oriented Policing System (COPS) was adopted on a citywide basis.

Community Policing Training in Small and Rural Jurisdictions

The Community Policing Training for Small and Rural Jurisdictions program offered several training and technical assistance options geared specifically for small and rural communities. One of these was Community Team Training, which helped law enforcement agencies change their organizational culture, when their administrative systems and managerial styles were designed for more traditional models of policing. Through Community Team Training, police and other community members began to build lasting partnerships by working together before, during, and after a custom-tailored, three-day training workshop.

The overall training approach was divided into three phases. The first phase involved helping jurisdictions to assess organizational change and commitment to community policing or to refine existing community policing efforts. Community Team Trainings were developed based on these assessments. Jurisdictions selected for Community Team Training were guided as they selected multidisciplinary teams and prepared for the workshop, which included similar teams from six to eight jurisdictions in the same region or state. The third phase provided technical assistance to the teams as they implemented the action plans developed during the workshop.

Community Policing in Public Housing Training and TA

Under a cooperative agreement between the U. S. Departments of Justice and Housing and Urban Development, ILJ administered the Community Policing in Public Housing (CPPH) consortium. The CPPH consortium consisted of ILJ, the International City/County Management Association, National Center for Community Policing of Michigan State University, and Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

In this project, the CPPH consortium designed a unique training experience that allowed workshop attendees to actually experience and work with community policing strategies. Workshop attendees were given an opportunity to perform exercises with team members to solve specific problems in their own jurisdictions and to engage the community in the implementation of community policing in public housing. The groups covered the following topics:

  • Community team building
  • Components of community policing
  • Problem solving techniques
  • Resident empowerment
  • Service orientation
  • Community policing implementation process.

The training was designed to address the specific needs of the jurisdictions represented at the workshops. Participants were required to bring relevant data regarding crime, resources, and problems to the workshop. Each team left the two and one-half day workshop with an implementation plan for their jurisdiction. In addition, follow-up technical assistance was made available to the teams.

National Survey of Community Policing Training

This project, sponsored by the National Institute of Justice, was designed to help determine the "state of the art" of community policing training nationwide. The project involved mail and telephone surveys in jurisdictions with populations of 50,000 or more and included inquiries about audiences for community policing training (recruits, patrol officers, supervisors and managers, and others); training delivery systems (police academies, colleges and universities, law enforcement associations, et al.); training topics and curricula; and training needs. A representative national sample of approximately 600 law enforcement agency administrators responded to the mail survey, which covered community policing training for recruits and patrol officers. In addition, about 150 training academy directors responded to a similar survey. Many respondents provided course outlines and curricula for review. Senior researchers and law enforcement trainers also conducted telephone surveys covering community policing training for supervisors and managers. Approximately 150 police departments that are implementing community policing department-wide were selected for this telephone survey. The project was assisted by a national advisory group of experts in community policing training and survey research.

National Survey of Community Policing Training in Small and Rural Jurisdictions

This project, sponsored by the U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), was designed to determine community policing training practices and needs in small and rural jurisdictions nationwide. Questionnaires were sent to approximately 2,000 police chiefs and sheriffs who served jurisdictions with fewer than 50,000 residents and whose agencies had received COPS grants to help implement community policing. The questionnaires covered training audiences (recruits and patrol officers), training delivery systems, curricula, and training needs. The results were presented in a final report, aimed at helping the COPS Office and others provide responsive community policing training services to small jurisdictions.

Sample Publications and Products

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