A 2016 survey by the Wisconsin Professional Police Association found that a lot of people support community policing. Given annually (and now in its fourth year), the poll is meant to examine the public perception of police enforcement in the state of Wisconsin. That said, minorities believe that the police don’t spend as much time policing their communities – an astounding 70% said that.
Defined as the assignment of a law enforcement officer to patrol a specific neighborhood, community policing aims to develop relationships with residents of a community. WPPA executive director Jim Palmer say that “When you see an effort like here in La Crosse, when you had community officers cleaning up Cameron Park last week, I think that’s something that really means a lot to people that live in that area. That’s really how you build a relationship with the people you’re supposed to serve. It’s clear people place a high value on that and we hope it continues.”
But given the fact that crimes still happen and injustices are done upon minorities, is community policing still effective? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:
List of Pros of Community Policing
1. It brings a community together.
Trust is one of the best characteristics of a strong community, and this is what police offers want from the neighborhood they are protecting. They want to earn that trust and will do what they can to get it. Then again, it can be a tough job but when there is trust between officers and citizens, then problems will be so much easier to solve.
2. It minimizes crime.
Not every police officer can catch an offender, that is a fact. Some may slip out of their hands or some crime may happen fast that there was no time to react. However, having a uniformed member of the police patrolling the neighborhood does bring some level of safety to residents. This way, they know streets are being watched which makes them feel secure.
3. It helps identify problems.
Constant patrolling means getting an overall idea about the state of a community. From there, officers can make a few suggestions on solving issues they have seen. For instance, an officer may have a chat with a shop owner and ask them how they can serve them better. Getting input from the community is one of the best ways to render service.
List of Cons of Community Policing
1. Some citizens might not care.
There are citizens who don’t care about officials patrolling their neighborhood. They may not be responsive when a patrol officer asks questions and such. Then again, some do take awhile to warm up to the presence of authority in the community.
2. It may make the officer-community relationship worse.
Communities with known negative histories with the law, police offers are sure going to be tough on the neighborhood. As a result, residents could be hostile and not cooperate with those that are trying to help them.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.