What is the current presidential administration stance on community policing?
Community policing revolves around the engagement and the involvement of the community that relate to local security. It is meant to enhance the relationship between the government and the people on the ground by offering home based solutions to local problems. The role of community policing as a solution to many social evils like crime and drug abuse in the American society cannot be underscored. This is so especially in these days of intensified terror threats. Through community policing, people are able to identify social problems early enough and discuss on the strategy to be undertaken to curb such problems.
Bush’s stand on community oriented policing services is on the limitation of the amount of funding allocated by the federal states. In his budgetary plan of 2003, he proposed that huge changes be introduced in the department of justice. Both the justice assistance grants and the community oriental policing service (COPS) were to undergo changes. Justice Assistance Grants has been on the forefront in fighting against drugs. On the other hand community-policing programs have been helping the police authorities in the war against crimes (David B. M. and Ralph R., 2002).
Bush stand on the issue of community policing has been rather controversial and enjoyed a railroad of criticism. His argument is based on some three reasons, which some claim make sense if looked at objectively. He claims that the community oriented policing services goes a long way in usurping the role and powers that lie within the individual states’ jurisdiction. Bush also further states that a close look at the community policing programs reveals they have not been able to meet the recommended standards in their performance as it has been expected. He also says that community oriented policing services have rather been ineffective and funding would be shifted to other programs that will be able to handle issues such as terrorism at the community level.
Bush’s stand on community policing emanates from the well founded belief that COPS programs have not been efficient enough in handling and curbing crime in the street or in increasing more law enforcement officers to a tune of 100,000 as recommended. For the community oriented policing serves to be tenable and enjoy budgetary support, they should meet the target bar as had been priory recommended by Bush. This, the administration maintains, is the criteria for identifying which government program is to receive more support or which is to be done away with.
A national evaluation on the success behind COPS indicated that it had failed to increase the number of offices in the streets since the community oriented policing services started being operational in 1994. The planned increase was at 57,000 by 2001 but the program was only able to add 40,000 offices. This hence has been impeding on the ability of the programs to fight and reduce crime on the street. This program also had not been able to lay out proper strategies on how crime could be rooted out. These are the reasons that have prompted President George Bush decision to reduce funding of community policing programs. He claims that the funding given to the programs is not commensurate to the performance; the performance is below the set standards. Since Bush placed the fund cutting proposal, his administration has been receiving criticism from cross section of leaders who says that he is ignorant of the successes that have been recorded in some of the states.
What does the advent of homeland security mean for the future of community policing programs in current today us?
The post 9/11 period in the United States has been casting huge doubts on the tenability of community oriented policing and whether it will survive. The fears on the survival of COP however have been quelled down with time; the establishment of the homeland security does not in any way affect the running of these programs. Community policing is key to the success of the espoused objectives of homeland security. Focus of homeland security is on the prevention and arresting of terrorism and ensuring public safety. Just like other types of crime, terrorism is a national problem as it is to the local states. It hence becomes important that vital information and responsibility be properly apportioned between the national and the grass root level.
To achieve this, it is only prudent that there be a radical shift in the now predominant culture by the agents of law in regard to community policing. Community policing remains the most important tool for crime prevention. Community policing is all about creating an understanding and partnership between the community and the government. It is the joining of hand between the law enforcement agencies and the community in debunking the myths of policing and in encouraging traditional approach to solving crime.
Security analysts are in agreement that community policing remains a key strategy through which to maintain homeland security. This can be done through the specific communities bonding with the law enforcement agents and volunteering information that can be used to curb acts of terrorism in the United States. Bonding of the police with the community exposes the officers on the existing structure of the community as wells as the local activities. Such intelligence can go a long way in arresting or exposing any terrorist activities or plans within a specific community. Where the police and the local community have reached a partnership and an understanding, people will be vigilant of the activities carried out in the neighborhood and report on any unusual happenings (Matthew C. S. and Robert C., 2003).
Police and community partnerships revolve around empowering the citizenry and instilling them with the belief that they should be at the forefront in fighting social ills. This is a relationship based on trust and goes further to provide with a framework through which intelligence can be collected and properly executed. Both community policing and homeland security seek to accomplish similar objectives, only differently. They are geared towards eliminating fear and threats to the public. Community policing encompasses the use of the local citizenry to tackle head-on, and provide solutions to the domestic problems. This goes a long way in curbing and deterring crime.
Homeland security also takes the same approach. It is hence prudent enough to say that the future of community policing remains bright and it is an effective strategy to accomplishing the objectives of homeland security. The existing community policing programs are evidence that both can co-exist with immense success.
Neighborhood Watch is one such program that has been in existence for almost 30 years and has been successful especially in the post 9/11 period. The Volunteers in Police Service is another program that facilitates the involvement of trained civilians in some non-crucial responsibilities.
David B. Muhlhausen and Ralph Rector, May 22, 2002. Will the bush administration hold the line on COPS? The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved on 03/12/2007 from http://www.heritage.org/research/crime/BG1550.cfm
Matthew C. Scheider and Robert Chapman, April 2003. “Community Policing and Terrorism,” Journal of Homeland
Security, http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/articles/Scheider-Chapman.html. Accessed on 3/12/2007.