One of the “buzz words” for police agencies, before 09-11-01, was Community Policing. For years, using those words in just about any grant request was almost guaranteed to get some state or federal money flowing into the police department. More recently, Community Policing has taken second seat to Homeland Security however.
What exactly is this new thing called “Community Policing”? Well, first off, it is absolutely not new. It’s going back to the way we used to police 75 or 100 years ago.
Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. -=SOURCE=-
I have heard a statement used in the Community Policing world… It’s been attributed to Paul Harvey but I haven’t been able to verify this. The statement goes:
The greatest crime prevention tool is the front porch.
Folks sitting on their front porch WILL deter crime. Criminals don’t want to be seen.
How does all this tie into Web 2.0?
Web 2.0 is a discussion. Communication. Two (or more) way dialog and commentary. So is Community Policing. It is a dialog between the police, more specifically, police officers and the community, more specifically the community, or neighborhood the police officers patrol.
By opening a dialog via the Internet, you can enhance your Community Policing initiatives. But which, of the THOUSANDS of tools do you use? Where do you begin? Which one do you start with?
There are several things you have to examine before you go any further. One of which is just exactly WHO will be handling the continuing dialog.
One of the most interesting concepts was brought up in a different conversation by a contact of mine name Christa M. Miller. In her blog, she discussed the “branding” of a police agency. I responded with a rather lengthy comment that probably should have been a blog post of its own. But it raised a question in her mind. She asked:
I think what I was envisioning was policy that would allow officers to take the initiative as long as they do it responsibly. This is not something you can “mandate” IMO – it has to fit into the overall strategy of strong community policing efforts.
Is there a way to write SOP to accomplish this? Perhaps allowing officers to “officially” represent the PD online only if they have a certain number of years of service?
When I first read this, I got cold chills. I’m old school. You have ONE point of contact in a police department for public information. The PIO (Public Information Officer). PERIOD. The idea of opening up the entire department with the expectation that they will do it responsibly is a bit disconcerting.
But the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. And I believe a hybrid of both methods would work well.