Community-Oriented Policing

Community-Oriented Policing (COP) is a philosophy, management style, and organizational strategy that promotes proactive problem solving and police / community partnerships to address the causes of crime and fear as well as other community issues.

Core Elements of COP
  1. Develop a police philosophy of true police / community partnership
  2. Proactive open community policing management style
  3. Establish a problem solving orientation
  4. Facilitate community policing / citizen involvement
  5. Promote permanent ownership of beat areas
  6. Prepare police officers to serve as neighborhood leaders and resource organizers
  7. Maintain personal relationships between police officers and communities
COP Principles
  • COP reassesses who is responsible for public safety and redefines the roles and relationships between the Police and the community. Citizens must protect themselves and help the police eliminate the social root causes of criminal activity in their area.
  • COP requires shared ownership, decision making, accountability and sustained commitment from both the Police and community. The Police must gain the public’s trust and the public must cooperate to achieve maximum results.
  • It establishes new public expectations of and measurement standards for Police effectiveness. A qualitative versus quantitative approach should be taken to focus on such variables as quality of service and responsiveness to community problems. The public must be aware of what service our department can provide.
  • The program increases understanding and trust between Police and community members, which establishes trust through familiarity and district integrity
  • COP empowers and strengthens community based efforts by supplying the community with information on how the judicial system can help them and also how they can help themselves.
  • It requires constant flexibility to respond to all emergency issues. The Police must work with other governmental agencies to respond to emerging problems as well as continue searching for more innovative new measures to deal with Police-related situations.
  • It requires an on-going commitment to developing long-term and proactive programs and strategies to address the underlying conditions that cause community problems. The Police strive to achieve long-term solutions to social problems that ultimately leads to more preventive police action rather than reaction to events.
  • The program requires knowledge of available community resources and how to access and mobilize them, as well as the ability to develop new resources within the community. It forces the Police to be “resource knowledgeable.”
  • The COP Program requires buy in of the top management of the Police and other local government agencies, as well as a sustained personal commitment from all levels of management and other key personnel. Beat officers must have the freedom to incorporate their ideas into departmental policing objectives.
  • The program centralizes police services, operations and management, relaxes the traditional “chain of command” and encourages innovation and creative problem solving by all - thereby making greater use of knowledge, skill and expertise throughout the organization without regard to rank. Police supervisors and managers must create a creative, problem solving atmosphere.
  • COP shifts the focus of police work from responding to individual incidents to addressing problems identified by the community as well as the Police, emphasizing the use of problem solving approaches to supplement traditional law-enforcement methods by shifting from incident orientation to a problem solving orientation.
  • COP Requires commitment to developing new skills through training, problem solving, networking, mediation, facilitation, conflict resolution, cultural competency and literacy.