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Evolution of Community Policing

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Evolution of Community Policing

Community policing dates back to 1960s during the movement of the civil rights which vividly uncovered the weaknesses of the tradition policy model. Since then, community policing has been slowly evolving up to the current system of community policing (Diamond & Weiss, 2009). Although the origin of the community policing can be drawn in the police-community relationship crisis, its advancement took place due to the influence of several factors within the past forty years. 

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In the civil rights movement of 1960s, elements of the individual in the community policing like developments in the relationships between the police and community, came out slowly from the social and political upheavals around the civil rights movement by then. Due to the protests and riots of the civil rights movements that were against the racial discrimination, government, incorporating the police diverted attention to the sources of the tension and the racial discrimination (Weisburd, et al., 2010). As a visible political sign of authority, the police were explicated to huge dealing of the criticism of the public. Minorities, African Americans were not only underrepresented in the departments of the police, but according to the researches, suggeste that they were also more rudely treated by the police, compared to the white Americans. The president’s commission on justice administration and the law enforcement, in response to the civil unrest, suggested that the police should be much responsive to the rapidly evolving challenges of the society.

Among the areas that required the most improvements were the unhealthy relationships which were creating antagonism between the police and the minority groups, specifically the black Americans. The team policing that was carried out between the late 1960s and early 1970s was developed from the concern of improving the relationship between the police and the minority group. The policing team became the first and the earliest community policing manifestation. In an effort to facilitate a healthy police community relationship, the operations of the police were restructured in accordance with the geographical regions. Moreover, line officers were given greater authority in decision making to assist them to be much responsive to the problems within their region. However, the successful implementation of the team and the team policing was ruthlessly hampered by the police manager staunch opposition to decentralization and within the very short period the idea was abbandoned (Cunneen, 1992).

In 1970s, due to availability of the government funds and the tension within the police, research spawned a huge interest in academics. The researchers were much interested in investigating the role of the police and the effectiveness of the strategies of the traditional police model. According to such researches, it was outlined that the time taken by the police to respond to a problem had very little impacts on reducing the crime levels, thus allaying the public fear of crimes and hence increased the satisfaction of the community in police service (Felson, 2006). Likewise, criminal investigation process study revealed the limitations of the investigation procedure and recommended that the capability of solving a crime by the police can be developed through programs which facilitate the police community relations.

The idea that police community relationship can assist in reducing disorders and crimes was initiated in 1970s. The idea was developed due to the facts that wide spread and increasing rates of crimes were the co-products of the current nature of the police community relations by then. Line officers were, therefore, mandated to investigate and resolve community problems in their regions.

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