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Community Policing in Israel: Resistance and Change

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: 2002 Pages: 80-109
David Weisburd; Orit Shalev; Menachem Amir
Date Published
30 pages
This article describes the findings of a national evaluation of community policing in Israel.
The focus was on four specific police stations in four districts that began community policing initiatives in the winter and spring of 1996. Three waves of surveys of police officers were conducted, along with field observations and ride-alongs with patrol officers and investigators. Results showed that police officers seldom thought to involve citizens in their work, and were unlikely to analyze incidents that they responded to as part of larger problems -- both elements of community-oriented policing. Police officers recognized the fact that community policing did demand change in the work of the police. The decline in involvement in community policing over time was found both among supervisors and non-supervisors. Many police officers were not convinced of the value of community policing in Israel. The responsibility for implementing community policing at the station level was shifted to the command staff of the sub-districts and the districts. As a result, community policing began to focus its training efforts at the district and sub-district levels and at national headquarters. City officials viewed community policing as a means of empowerment for the municipality. The municipalities were extremely cooperative in the development of community policing. Most citizens agreed that they were satisfied with the service they received and that one should cooperate with the Israeli police. Some explanations for problems encountered in the implementation of community policing were the variety of goals made them difficult to achieve; the redefining of police philosophy and behavior was too massive of a change; and the political realities of policing. There was an overall resistance of the organization culture of the police to structural changes suggested by community policing. There was a lack of organizational commitment to community policing from the outset. It is clear that Israeli police at all levels now understand the importance of providing service to the community. 24 tables, 5 notes, 66 references