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Community Policing vs. Policing the Community

NCJ Number
John M. Crew
Date Published
4 pages
This paper discusses four major barriers to full implementation of community policing.
In attempts to create community policing partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the people they serve, the principles of trust, openness, accountability and equity are too often ignored or undervalued. The article examines four significant barriers to full implementation of the community policing concept. First, there remains significant mistrust of law enforcement in many communities-— particularly in communities of color disproportionately affected by police misconduct. Second, police institutions remain, in many respects, closed and secretive institutions, overly protective of their image and reluctant to share negative information with “outsiders.” The institutional message is that officers’ obligations to “protect” fellow officers supersedes any broader obligation to their community policing “partners” in the public. Third, there remains significant police resistance to the establishment of independent, civilian review mechanisms designed to provide direct accountability to the public. Fourth, true power sharing is a concept foreign to many police commanders and represents a threat to various institutional prerogatives currently protected from outside influences.