Community Policing: Turn Connecting Into Problem Solving
Thousands of agencies across the country are already using community policing to develop meaningful connections and open up lines of communication with their residents. If you are not familiar with the philosophy behind community policing, you can learn more here. While building trust and developing a dialogue between residents and law enforcement officers can be enormously beneficial for both parties involved, it can be difficult to see tangible results without taking any addition action. This is where Problem-Oriented Policing comes into play. Problem-Oriented Policing is a method where information regarding underlying problems within a community that was acquired through the relationships built by community policing is turned into actions aimed at resolving problems. Think of community policing as the way law enforcement becomes aware of the problems affecting the community, and problem-oriented policing as the way law enforcement designs and implements an intervention to resolve the problem. A common problem-solving method used in problem-oriented policing is the SARA Model. This model describes a general process officers can follow to resolve underlying issues in the community. The model is broken out into 4 parts:
Initially, it’s critical to identify and observe underlying community problems. Any observations can be used to determine the consequences of these problems on police and members of the community alike, which will help prioritize which problems are most severe. Using this information, develop broad, actionable goals leading to the problem’s resolution.
Attempt to identify the factors and conditions that precede the problem, and what data must be collected to better understand it. Review any current interventions already in place and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Use all available information to develop a hypothesis as to why the problem is occurring.
Brainstorm new interventions. A good place to start is to research communities who have faced a similar problem and how they solved it. Once a final intervention is decided upon, assign responsibilities, announce overall objectives, and proceed with the intervention.
After the intervention has begun, conduct ongoing assessments to ensure the process is effective and augment any inefficiencies as they are discovered. After the intervention is complete, collect qualitative and quantitative data to assess whether the initial objectives were met and regroup to brainstorm new interventions for any objectives not met. Learn more about Community Policing. Discover how Everbridge Nixle can help your agency connect with residents here. Learn more about the SARA method and problem-oriented policing here.