Community policing is, in essence, collaboration between the Sheriff’s Office and the community that identifies and solves community problems. With deputies no longer the sole guardians of law and order, all members of the community become active allies in the effort to enhance the safety and quality of neighborhoods. Many calls to the Sheriff’s Office are not law enforcement related and more effectively handled by other agencies. As the number of non-emergency calls decrease, benefits to citizens increase.
- Deputies are able to spend more time working with citizens to solve crime and disorder problems.
- With better Sheriff – citizen communication, deputies can more effectively use and share crime information with the public.
- Deputies who know both a community’s problems and its residents can link people with other public and private agencies that can help solve community concerns.
No single agency can solve complex social problems alone. A combined community-police effort restores the safety of our neighborhoods and business districts.
Community policing has far-reaching implications. The expanded outlook on crime control and prevention, the new emphasis on making community members active participants in the process of problem solving, and the patrol deputies' pivotal role in community policing require profound changes within our law enforcement organization. The neighborhood patrol deputy, backed by the entire Sheriff’s organization, helps community members mobilize support and resources to solve problems and enhance their quality of life. Community members voice their concerns, contribute advice, and take action to address these concerns. Creating a constructive partnership will require the energy, creativity, understanding, and patience of all involved.
Reinvigorating communities is essential if we are to deter crime and create more vital neighborhoods. In some communities, it will take time to break down barriers of apathy and mistrust so that meaningful partnerships can be forged. Trust is the value that underlies and links the components of community partnership and problem solving. A foundation of trust will allow deputies to form close relationships with the community that will produce solid achievements. Without trust between law enforcement and citizens, effective policing is impossible.