Community Oriented Policing (COP)
Within the last few years, forward thinkers have caught the wave of an emerging law enforcement philosophy that recognizes the importance of creating a close partnership between citizens and their police to solve community problems that adversely affect the quality of life. While this philosophy has received a variety of titles, it is most commonly referred to and best described as Community Oriented Policing (COP).
It has been recognized that traditional law enforcement responses to crime and disorder, by themselves, are ineffective. COP was conceived as the result of a realization that many causal factors that contribute to criminal behavior include social and environmental issues that may not fit into traditionally accepted law enforcement methods. These broader problems are best identified and addressed through this community and police partnership.
COP as a Philosophy
It is important that COP be recognized, accepted and promoted not as a program, but a philosophy. Community Oriented Policing does not simply require a change in the way we think and interact with the public. It is not merely a community relations program. There are definite factors that separate the Community Oriented Policing philosophy from other police programs.
In order to achieve a true COP partnership with citizens, police must integrate with the community. Officers are assigned to permanent beat areas where they enjoy the freedom and autonomy to work with the citizens using innovative and creative long-term solutions to resolve community problems. Police officers and citizens are empowered to explore new, proactive initiative, to help solve problems before they occur or escalate.
It is also an objective of COP to change the attitudes of individual officers who are in traditional patrol assignments. It is focused on creating officers who are problem solvers rather than short-term crisis interveners and crime report takers.
COP is a revitalization of an age-old concept where citizens and police officers know one another and work closely together to positively impact social problems in the community and improve the quality of life. For Paso Robles, COP is an opportunity to maximize our working relationship with the community that will, in turn, result in improved police service.