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Enacting the CPO (Community Patrol Officer) Role: Findings from the New York City Pilot Program in Community Policing (From Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality, P 89-101, 1988, Jack R Greene and Stephen D Mastrofski, eds. -- See NCJ-115735)

NCJ Number
D Weisburd; J E McElroy
Date Published
13 pages
An evaluation of the Community Patrol Officer (CPO) Program in New York City found that police officers given choices of priorities will choose activities that have traditionally had high status in policing, that they will most effectively perform the tasks over which they have the most direct control, and they will have the most difficulty in organizing citizen groups and coordinating citizen actions with those of the police.
The CPO Program was introduced as a pilot involving 9 beats consisting of 12 to 30 square blocks each, starting in July 1984. The Vera Institute of Justice defined the CPO role in terms of four dimensions: planner, problem solver, community organizer, and information link. The evaluation data came from structured and unstructured interviews with the CPOs and the supervising sergeant and from observation of the officers during their patrol work. Findings showed that officers became more involved in enforcement actions that was initially expected by program planners and even by the officers themselves. Although CPOs were successful in using existing community organizations, they were generally unsuccessful in developing new community groups or in obtaining followup assistance from community members. Findings indicate that the social disorganization that police officers confront is not easily transformed into the kind of community organization envisioned by the community policing philosophy. Notes.


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