Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Los Angeles Police Scandal: A Call to Renew Community Policing Initiatives

On May 1, 2007, the Los Angeles Police fired rubber bullets and used batons on demonstrators and journalists at an immigration rally in Macarthur Park in what was considered an excessive use of force.  LAPD Chief William J. Bratton said that it was the "worst incident of this type I have ever encountered in 37 years" in law enforcement.  Chief Bratton also told reporters that "I'm not going to defend the indefensible... Things were done that shouldn't have been done." About 60 members of an elite unit have been taken off street duty and won't return to active street duties until they have undergone retraining.

Especially in a city like Los Angeles, the principles of Community Policing are critical to address such as concerns and immigration.

[Reprinted from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services – www.cops.usdoj.gov]

Community policing focuses on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships. The community policing model balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive problem-solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder. Community policing requires police and citizens to join together as partners in the course of both identifying and effectively addressing these issues.

The core elements of community policing are:

Organizational Elements

  1. Philosophy Adopted Organization-Wide
  2. Decentralized Decision-Making and Accountability
  3. Fixed Geographic Accountability and Generalist Responsibilities
  4. Utilization of Volunteer Resources
  5. Enhancers
Tactical Elements
  1. Enforcement of Laws
  2. Proactive, Crime Prevention Oriented
  3. Problem-solving
External Elements
  1. Public Involvement in Community Partnerships
  2. Government and Other Agency Partnerships
Sadly, community policing initiatives have been put on the back burner in many municipalities. It is critical that the ideals of community policing, in a culture where there is a great need for sensitivity to the demands of diversity, is re-ignited in law enforcement agencies throughout the nation.


U.S. Department of Justice Office of
Community Oriented Policing Services
Click here to visit site
What is Community Policing?
Click here to visit site
Appreciating Diversity:
Reawakening the Heart of America
Click here to visit site
Los Angeles Times Article Click here to visit site

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