Organizational Reform in Law Enforcement: Can Community Oriented Policing Succeed Without It? Wendy S. UngerFoundations Readings in the Justice Process CCJ 6902Dr. Gordon BazemoreFlorida Atlantic UniversityAbstractMuch of the literature on Community Oriented Policing (COP) has centered on the programs and initiatives implemented over the last two decades. The literature examines the successes and failures regarding COP programs, yet little focus has been concentrated on the organizations that provide the environment that can hinder or nurture these initiatives. From a general lack of understanding of what community policing means, to how best to expend the funding provided to promulgate COP programs, this review will explore the dynamics of examined law enforcement agencies and what organizational changes have or have not occurred, and what changes may be needed for community policing to survive and flourish. IntroductionThe organizational structure of police agencies is an ever evolving, and in many respectsrevolving, process.
This review will consider the debate regarding the role of organizational structure regarding the implementation of Community oriented policing (COP). COP implementation has met with obstacles throughout the country, and we seek in this review to understand these obstacles, examine why they exist and speculate as to what we may do to conquer them.
Specifically this discussion will examine recent focus directed at the organizational structure of police organizations and how the structure has hindered, or continues to hinder successful COP implementation. “Policing is changing dramatically. On the one hand, we wish policing to retain the old values of police integrity, equitable distribution of police resources throughout the community, and police efficiency which characterized the old model of the police. But the challenge of contemporary police and city executives is to redefine these concepts in light of the resurgence of neighborhood vitality, consumerism and more realistic assessments of the institutional capacity of the police” (Kelling, 1988, p.
7)Problem-solving and community policing have suffered in lieu of administrative concerns and with the fear of high involvement with the community, which comes with stronger demands. Team policing and split-force policing have had more support than these aspects. Apart from the lack of resource, Moore et al (1988) suggest that administrative style and structure may also be a weakness, citing the current administrative focal areas of “centralization, control, and distance from the community”, which are not aligned to the thrusts of problem-solving and community policing (Moore et al, 1988). Community oriented policing is a response to the contemporary needs of today’s police agencies and the communities they serve.
Most researchers agree the history of policing can be divided into three eras. These eras are distinguished from one another by the apparent dominance of a particular strategy of policing (Kelling & Moore 1988). As municipal police agencies developed in the 1840’s politicians and the politics of the particular jurisdiction drove the police agencies’ function.
This era is referred to as the Political Era, and these close relationships between the police and politicians eventually led to widespread corruption. Special interests and selective enforcement led to the gradual deterioration of the legitimacy of police agencies during this era. The Reform Era followed with attempts to re-legitimize the mission of all law enforcement agencies. A strong proponent of reform in the 1920’s was the Berkeley, CA Police Chief August