KOIN: ‘Community policing’: What it means, what it would take
Author: Elise Haas, KOIN
Posted: June 15, 2020

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Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell recently revealed changes he wants to make to the bureau — but it will take effort from both officers and communities to establish those changes.

We’ve been hearing our police chief use the phrase “community policing.” Community policing was a movement in criminal justice that started in the 1990s as an effort to define and measure what it means to have people involved in policing.

A professor of criminology and criminal justice at Portland State University says a lot of police departments were claiming they were doing this – but he says it’s important to actually showcase evidence of crime prevention and policing partnerships.

“That’d be good information for us to assess whether one these efforts could be doing more and how it might connect to positive community outcomes,” Criminology & Criminal Justice Professor Brian Renauer said.

Professor Renauer says it takes building a network of neighbors to help facilitate public safety needs.

“That requires a police department identifying resident leaders and resident organizations to work with to discuss key community issues,” he said. “What are the root causes and problems of those key public safety issues? And most importantly, what are the potential strategies to address those issues?”

Renauer says incorporating resident participation needs to be integrated throughout the whole process of identifying a community’s problems and solutions.

Professor Renauer explained community policing also requires officers to recognize cultural aspects to certain neighborhoods.

“Which is understanding its history and that history could involve serious police and community racial problems.”

Community policing would take efforts from both neighborhoods and our police bureau to outline problems — and discover solutions together.