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Planning and Implementation Issues for Community Oriented Policing: The Houston Experience

NCJ Number
Date Published
89 pages
The experience of the Houston Police Department in planned change that resulted in establishing community policing is examined, with emphasis on the planning and implementation issues that other police agencies might encounter in conducting change efforts.
The research focused on the period from 1980 through 1991 and used information collected in interviews and conversations during 1987-91 with 20 participants in the agency's first executive session in 1986, as well as formal interviews in 1991-92 with 20 current or former members of the agency. Study information also came from observations and reviews of documents, newspaper articles, and the literature. Results revealed that although the Houston Police Department did not fully implement neighborhood-oriented policing, it made significant changes between 1980 and 1992. The concept of neighborhood-oriented policing became the catalyst for legitimizing the change process. Further changes starting in 1992 have resulted in further changes under its third police administration since the inception of neighborhood-oriented policing. The issues addressed and the methods used in the process of change in Houston can be regarded as efforts to accomplish the three stages of the change process: unfreezing, changing, and refreezing. The Houston experience also reveals that broad-based change is extremely difficult to accomplish and that crucial determinants of success may be beyond the control of organizational managers. Figures, footnotes, and 19 references

Date Published: January 1, 1996