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Use and Effectiveness of Community Policing in a Democracy (From Policing in Central and Eastern Europe: Comparing Firsthand Knowledge With Experience From the West, P 139-148, 1996, Milan Pagon, ed. -- See NCJ-170291)

NCJ Number
B R Ferreira
Date Published
10 pages
With a view toward considering community policing as an option for the new democracies of Central and Eastern European countries, this paper includes references to studies of community policing efforts already implemented, the problems identified, financial implications, evaluation results, and community reaction to these issues.
Cox and Fitzgerald (1992:159) have defined community policing as "a philosophy of full service personalized policing, where the same officer patrols and works in the same area on a permanent basis, from a decentralized place, working in a proactive partnership with citizens to identify and solve problems." The models of community policing encompass "crime prevention and peace preservation policing," "communications policing," and "community building policing." Those who support community policing believe that public order and community safety must be a joint venture of police and citizens, with police facilitating partnerships with community leaders in developing crime prevention programs and countering circumstances that foster crime. A number of evaluation studies provide support for this belief. Critics of community policing, however, argue that it is a nostalgic return to the past rather than a realistic appraisal of the policing needed for the future. Other critics fear that police involvement in community development and community affairs could pose issues of political accountability. Still other critics argue that although community policing is a laudable philosophy, police are neither motivated nor trained to do the tasks that will make community policing effective. In countering the critics, supporters of community policing argue that the problems and difficulties posed by community policing should not be grounds for abandoning it or refusing to implement it. The reforms and training required will take time and resources, but the results will be worth it. In Central and Eastern European countries that have experienced totalitarian government during the Cold War, community policing under their new democracies should go a long way toward building citizen trust in the police.