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

ILJ has been working with the Tempe, Arizona, Police Department since 1990 to assist in the implementation of a comprehensive community policing program. Designed with help from ILJ, the community policing program involves 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:

In November 1994, ILJ completed an evaluation of the program’s success. The evaluation discusses the planning approach taken by the department, the problems encountered in implementing geographic deployment, and the results of problem solving efforts in the development of community policing in Tempe. 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 been participating in the 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 reflected, for example, 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.