Community Policing Principles – Cayman Island Style

I found an interesting article about community policing concepts and reducing crime today. It comes from the Cayman Islands. The article speaks about the common threads of community policing: public involvement and activities that encourage community-based problem solving. An interesting twist to this article; however, is the observation that since many of these programs take years to implement properly, they often fall by the wayside because of the turnover in police professionals. The author, Kafara Augustine, RCIPS Media Liaison Officer, states

“…the success of the programme is somewhat dependent on the long-term presence of officers – a fact that is translated in children’s minds as the officers sticking with the community throughout all the difficult stages of its development…”

Augustine also notes a 1997 study by the Police Executive Research Forum that showed that the tenure of police chiefs in major cities had dropped to 2.5 to 4 years.

Augustine makes a valid point. It is difficult to maintain programs with high turnover. Traditionally, Midwestern states tend to have longer tenured chiefs and staff; however, that trend is changing with the ability of more mobility of senior police personnel and the often political climate even smaller city chiefs now face on a daily basis.

Governmental bodies also need to be cognizant of the need to provide public safety officials the necessary funding, salary base and growth ability to meet the needs of growing populations. It’s a challenge in an environment where there are shrinking dollars. The same problem solving applications that deal with crime and safety can also be applied on a community-police strategy to make sure officers are compensated well and equipped well and they have the consistent leadership that will enable them to be successful.

Augustine’s article was interesting and one in which elected officials and city administrators/managers should take note.

About Gary Smith

Chief Smith has served over 31 years in the criminal justice field. He is currently a consultant assisting public and private organizations better establish community goals and ethical conduct with the members of their organizations. Chief Smith serves as a facilitator, lecturer, professor and other capacities both inside and outside the criminal justice field.
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