Modern day community-oriented policing and problem solving (COPPS) model has swept the western democratic police world like a mega boy band sweeping the nation’s youth into their fervor. It appears that all law enforcement agencies from local to federal have adopted the direction of community policing. The COPPS model is so malleable and pliable that even the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces have adopted it to fight the terrorist insurgency that threatens all of the western world ideology of democracy and rule of law.
COPPS is neither a new method nor invention created by modern police but it is more of a revision of a movement that took place in law enforcement with Sir Robert Peel and the City of London Metropolitan Police Department in the1800’s (Patterson, 2011). The philosophy of community-oriented policing and problem solving is an effective tool that can adapt to all environments and even help prevent failure. An arrest signifies that the police failed its community in educating crime prevention and had to arrest, but it is an acceptable failure.
Community policing is a Darwinian evolution to the methodologies created and envisioned by the father of modern policing Sir Robert Peel. London England was plagued with corruption and spiraling out of control crime. Sir Robert Peel introduced three basic principles that are at the core of modern policing and subsequently community policing itself. The basic fundamental principles that Sir Robert presented were grounded on the concepts of “humaneness, fairness, and justice provide a standard for determining how well a police agency is meeting its responsibilities to its citizens” (Kovacich, 1995).
In short Sir Robert proposed that the police department should be held accountable for its actions and its purpose was to serve the public it protected. The police department was not to usurp power or act as judge and jury, but be a diligent and faithful servant to the public (Kovacich, 1995). As one can see the philosophy of community policing is not so new to modern policing but a retrace to the roots of Sir Robert Peel’s ideology of modern policing. Community-oriented policing and problem solving is a fundamental philosophy that swept the western democratic rule of law societies in the early 1990’s.
The federal government knew that crime was rapidly increasing and spreading out of the ghettos, barrios and trailer parks and affecting all of America. It saw COPPS as a sustainable answer that could give quick and lasting results. The government invested heavily in the COPPS philosophy and in 1994 Congress passed the Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act and created the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services under the Department of Justice (DOJ) (The Department of Justice).
The core concept of the philosophy of community policing is parallel to the principles that Sir Robert Peel introduced over 100 years ago. The COPPS model promotes a proactive police department instead of the traditional reactive police traditions. It focuses on the police department in making the community the center of its viewpoint and making them an active part in the solution of crime control. It also makes the police depart accountable by introducing programs such as the S. A. R. A. process and CompStat program.
The CompStat platform was introduced by the New York City Police Department. It incorporated the values of the COPPS model with an emphasis on the management of the police department and its accountability to the public from the lowest patrol officer to the chief of police. CompStat ensured the survival of the COPPS model and its integration into the new millennium and the age of information technology (Peak, 2010, p. 75). The S. A. R. A. (scanning, analysis, response, assessment) process is a continuum of the COPPS philosophy of policing.
It supplanted the traditional reactive short term response that police normally would have employed to the exponential crime problem. The S. A. R. A process focuses on an approach that emphasizes on systematic analysis and partnership between the community and the police working together to solve the issuing problem (SARA, The MODEL (police)). Problem-oriented policing or POP for short is a component of the COPPS philosophy way of policing. It has been tested throughout the country from coast to coast.
It has proven it’s weighed in gold and shined through as the North Star guides sailors in dark nights, when it came to controlling criminal “hot spots”. For example social science researchers Taylor, Koper and Woods conducted a case study based on empirically collected data that supports the efficiency of the POP strategy in reducing crime and having a lasting effect. They tested the POP model against the traditional directed-saturation patrol method that police departments have used so often in high crime area with little success.
The POP model outperformed the traditional method by reducing street crimes by 33% and even had a favorable side effect as a reduction of violent and property crimes even after the case study post phase, strengthening the argument of a lasting solution to crime prevention and control (Taylor, Koper, & Woods, 2011). COPPS has been such a success in the western democratic societies that NATO has adopted its philosophy and currently uses it as its main weapon to fight the insurgency that plagues Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
It has proven to be an effective tool against the war on terrorism and bridging a gap between the skeptical Muslim dominated society and ISAF’s (International Security Assistance Force) initiative of introducing and sustaining democracy and rule of law to Afghanistan. ISAF has been able to finally get a foothold on the war and leave a lasting partnership that the Afghan people have been empowered to take control of their future, country and government.
They achieved this by making the community a proactive member of the solution and encouraging and supporting them in all efforts in securing their country and adopting a rule of law mentality (Florentino, 2010). Community-oriented policing and problem solving may not be a new and recent police innovation as most people thought. In actuality it is a rebirth of the principles and philosophy that Sir Robert Peel introduced to the world in modernizing the London Metropolitan Police Department and making the police for the first time accountable to the public it served. It brought a humanistic approach to crime prevention and control.
The COPPS model has been an evolutionary continuum to the ideas of Sir Robert Peel and with technological and managerial innovations such as CompStat and the S. A. R. A. model; it has firmly implanted itself as a steadfast police value that indeed has truly passed the test of time. ? References Bromley, M. L. , & Cochran, J. K. (1992). A case study of community policing in a southern sheriff's office. Police Quarterly, 36-56. doi: 10. 1177/109861119900200102 Florentino, S. (2010). COP, COIN, and Afghanistan. Military Police, pp. 17-18. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com. ezproxy1. apus. du/ehost/detail? vid=4=126=7026ffcb-d4a5-49a7-9ae0-9a8c3a168f2b%40sessionmgr113=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=tsh=53721895 Kovacich, G. L. (1995, July). Policing new democracies. Security Management, 39(7), 13. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com. ezproxy1. apus. edu/docview/231164897/abstract/1317239157845CF6E43/1? accountid=8289 Patterson, J. (2011). Community policing: learning the lessons of history. Retrieved August 14, 2011, from: http://www. lectlaw. com/files/cjs07. htm Peak, K. J. (2010). Justice Administration Police, Court, and Corrections Management.
New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. SARA, The MODEL (police). (n. d. ). Retrieved August 14, 2011, Retrieved from http://what-when-how. com/police-science/sara-the-model-police/ Taylor, B. , Koper, C. S. , & Woods, D. (2011). A randomized controlled trial of different policing strategies at hot spots and violent crime. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7(2), 149. Retrieved August 6, 2011, doi: 2361221701). The Department of Justice. (n. d. ). COPs History (1994 - The Present). Retrieved August 14, 2011, Retrieved from http://www. cops. usdoj. gov/default. asp? Item=44