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Community-Oriented Policing: Is It Nonsense or Success?

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 22 Issue: 10 Dated: October 1998 Pages: 24-28-32
A J Borrello
Date Published
8 pages
Many law enforcement agencies throughout the United States have implemented community-oriented policing and problem-solving (COPPS), and COPPS now has formal guidelines and is backed by the Federal Government through specific grants.
Law enforcement agencies may obtain partial funding for COPPS to hire new police officers or hire civilians to fill nonsworn assignments, thus allowing sworn police officers to be redeployed to the streets where they are needed. COPPS can generally be described as the reunification of the police and the community, and COPPS is meant to be a partnership to reduce crime, violence, and fear in neighborhoods. Despite strong Federal support, aggressive public relations, and substantial support from police administrators, negative attitudes toward COPPS have been growing. The anti-COPPS disposition is most prevalent among street-level police officers and frontline supervisors. COPPS has been rejected by some as a "politically correct" program or simply a method to obtain Federal funds. COPPS is further charged with forcing police officers to be kinder and gentler, a demeanor that may cause police officers to be hurt or killed. While some of the criticism and apprehension generated by COPPS may have basis in fact, the author notes disapproval of COPPS is rooted in confusion, misinformation, and lack of factual knowledge about COPPS and its potential. He indicates that COPPS is meant to supplement not replace traditional policing and that COPPS is an evolving strategy. The author concludes that COPPS strategies should not be blamed for improper implementation and that COPPS success or failure is clearly in the hands of those who participate in it. 3 photographs