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Nov 14th, 2014
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An Analysis of Community Oriented Policing (COPPS) and Traditional Policing

The police have a difficult, sometimes impossible job (Nordlinger, 2014). The police department is tasked with ensuring that they serve and protect the public. This means that they put everything else before the safety of the citizens including their own lives. The police have been in existence for many decades. They have provided the public and society as a whole with a suitable environment where they can live, through adopting and implementing strategies that they feel that would be the best to help them achieve their objectives. Over the years, these strategies have improved and become better in an effort to ensure that the public is better served and protected. The police force has gone through different stages from traditional policing to what is currently used by majority of the countries, which is community oriented policing and problem solving abbreviated as COPPS. Through understanding, both methods will put a person in a better position to know which methods are most applicable and appropriate to be used depending on the situation that a person is facing at the moment. This also helps to understand how the police in conjunction with the local community can work together to ensure that the community is safe and security is enhanced at all times.

The most popular and most understood style of law enforcement is traditional policing. It is a standard style of policing that sees police officers that are on patrol react to criminal activities that they come across or that the police are called to intervene by the public. In this method, the police are expected to react immediately they observe a crime or when they are asked to respond to a report that has been made by members of the public (Olsen, 2004). It is the most commonly used method as all the police require to do is to apply the basic knowledge that they were taught when they were in the police academy. This is the method that has been used across board in many countries in the world to ensure that their respective countries are safe at all times. It was popular because of the factors that it involved.

The other method that is very popular today is the COPPS method. This type of method involves both the community and the police working hand in hand to reduce incidences of crime and enhancing security. Police officers partner with the community to help seek solutions for any security problem that they have. The police and the community partner to find the root cause of the problem and what might make crimes to thrive. The method aims at ensuring that there are better and stronger relationships between the community and the police. It is a remarkable idea as once this relationship is strengthened it means that the police will be able to gain better intelligence about crimes before they occur. The community will also be able to trust the police as they will be willing and ready to co-operate with them whenever need arises (Glensor & Peak, 2006). It is a good method that helps to foster a good working relationship between all the parties that are involved.

There are similarities and differences that exist between traditional policing and COPPS. The main similarity is that both methods have a similar objective. They both lean towards ensuring that the rate of crime levels are at a minimum and that security is enhanced at all times. The methods both depend on gathering intelligence and using the data collected to solve crimes and ensure that crimes are avoided, and also any perpetrators that are involved in the process are captured and punished to the full extent of the law (Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, 2009). Another similarity is that the police are at the core of both methods. The most important element in both is the police, and they serve a vital function. This means that the police are heavily involved in both methods, and without them the community would not be made any safer.

There are also major differences that can be noted between traditional policing and COPPS. Both methods have different ways of ensuring that security is enhanced. Traditional policing depends fully on the police alone. They work on their own to gather intelligence by interviewing the public and gathering evidence so as to prevent a crime from occurring, or to catch a perpetrator. On the other hand, COPPS involves a joint effort from both the community and the police (Peak & Glensor, 2002). Both factions work together to ensure that the world is made a better place, free from any form of crime. The community is taken through basic classes that teach them on how to detect crime. They are also taught on how best to handle any form of situation that they come across with the inclusion of the police throughout the entire process. These are the main differences between COPPS and traditional policing. However, whichever method is applied, the end point is enhancing effective safety measures that are appropriate to the community.

The philosophy of traditional policing is serving the public to the best of their ability by ensuring that only the best methods are applied (Olsen, 2004). There is the need to ensure that the community is not affected in any way as the police are in the process of investigating any crime. The philosophy of COPPS is to have the police and the community work hand in hand in the process of solving the crime that has been reported, or to prevent future crimes. The COPPS philosophy aims at fostering a good relationship between the police and the community by encouraging them to work together for the good of the community.

There are certain leadership traits that are required when a person is selected to be part of either of the policing methods. In traditional policing, the leadership traits that are sought for are a decisive person that is able to make the right and firm decision, an assertive person and the ability to discern and follow one’s gut. These qualities are important as they make a person to be able to stand for what they believe in and not be swayed. They enable the police officer to be in a better position to be able to firmly make the right decision that will enable him or her to quickly solve the case that they have. In the case for COPPS, there are also certain leadership qualities that a person needs to possess. For officers or persons that are involved in COPPS, they need to have qualities that help them to work together in a group in an effort to ensure that the right choice is made (Peak & Glensor, 2002). Therefore, the most important trait in COPPS is a leader needs to be a team player and be able to work with other people so that they make the community a better and safer place to live in.

The traits for each overlap in that though in COPPS an officer is supposed to work with the community, in traditional policing an officer is supposed to be discrete and reveal little or no details to the community (Glensor & Peak, 2006). Leaders in each method are also looking for certain traits in their employees. An example of the traits is the ability to work well with one another. This is within the COPPS. An employee under COPPS is required to be a team player. That person needs to be able to gain useful information and share with his peers. Another quality is the ability to follow instructions. This applies to both methods. An employee needs to be able to be told certain things and to follow these instructions to the letter. Another quality is the employee needs to be sharp, be able to discern information quickly, and gather useful intelligence that will help solve the case that they are investigating. These are just some of the main characteristics that an officer or a person that is part of the community policing should have or possess. There are many others that are mostly tailor made to the kind of case or situation that the parties might be involved in.

In history, different scholars have postulated different leadership and motivational theories that are applicable to traditional policing and COPPS. These theories fully apply to these methods and are adopted by different people depending on the situation or scenario that they are in. Maslow hierarchy of needs is an example of a motivational theory that is applicable to traditional policing. Maslow implies that the police officers work hard to get the next level of hierarchy. This means that the junior officers work hard so that they can rise up the ranks and have senior positions in the force. In the case of COPPS, Herzberg motivational theory is applicable. For this theory, it means that the community becoming safe is the motivation that the community has to make for them to work with the police. They know that if they work together, the world will become a safer place for them and their children.

Trait and behavioral leadership theories are also equally important in police work. These are the theories that show how a leader is expected to carry himself or herself. Trait leadership theory defines the kind of traits that a leader should have (Bennett, Hess & Orthmann, 2007). In the police force, there are certain traits that a leader should possess. These traits will determine whether or not a person will possess the kind of qualities that are important to lead a team. An officer should also behave in a certain way. This is where the behavioral theory comes in handy. This means that the officer in a leadership position needs to behave in a certain way that his juniors can emulate.

Leadership, management and supervision of traditional policing and COPPS have some similarities and differences. The similarities between the two methods in regards to leadership include that in both methods respect is expected. The juniors are expected to respect their superiors at all times, and they are supposed to follow the instructions that they are given to the core. In regards to management and supervision, the similarity is that in both methods the teams are strictly managed so as to ensure that only the best results can be achieved. The leadership, management and supervision in the two methods have to be top notch and impeccable so that results can be got regardless of the scenario that either method faces.

There are also differences that are evident in how the two methods are led, managed and supervised. First, the COPPS method requires that all the parties involved work together hand in hand. Therefore, there is an element of team work that is between the community and the police department. This calls for the management to be open-minded and supervision more relaxed. However, in the case of the traditional policing there are stern rules and regulations that need to be followed at all times (De, 2008). There is no room for being relaxed as every single person is accountable for their actions and is expected to add value to the police department. If any of the officers is found at fault they are expected to answer to internal affairs and give valid reasons for their misconduct. Therefore, supervision is very crucial in traditional policing than in COPPS. The management of both methods is also very different. In traditional policing, management is very strict and they expect officers to follow the set down rules and regulations. On the other hand, the management of COPPS is less strict as there are many different elements that are involved that may at times go rogue and not follow instructions.

Both methods of policing have different ways that they handle cases that are brought to them. In the case of multiple home robberies throughout a middle class neighborhood, the traditional policing method would come in and investigate the scene or different scenes of the crime. They would do their best to get the evidence that they need to catch the culprits like take prints at the scene of the crime. They would also ensure that they take witness statements so that they are able to know if there was any person that saw anything that would be of use to them. On the other hand, COPPS would handle this issue different. On top of collecting evidence, they would also organize the community to have the neighborhood watch that would keep track of any individuals that come and go from the community. They would report and question any suspicious individuals that they find hanging around the neighborhood.

Another case would be domestic violence. This is one case that is commonly reported to the police. In traditional policing, the victim and the perpetrator would be questioned by the police and once the police have determined the case and cause of the problem the perpetrator would be arrested. However, COPPS would handle this situation differently. They would intervene and ensure that both parties went for counseling. This would mean that both the victim and the perpetrator sought help from a professional that would look into the root cause of the problem (De, 2008). The community would also look into the best interest of the victims to ensure that the perpetrator is charged to the full extent of the law for what he or she put the victims through.

The style that would be more effective in solving multiple home robberies throughout a middle class neighborhood and domestic disputes would be COPPS. This is because COPPS go a step further to ensure that they find out the root cause of the problem and not just look at the face value. COPPS will also ensure that they counsel the entire community so that these crime issues decrease. They also talk to influential figures in the community, so that they can act as brand ambassadors that will dissuade the younger generation from participating in these crimes (Olsen, 2004). The method would also be effective as it involves the community in an attempt to resolve the crimes. A combination of both styles would not be effective. This is because both traditional policing and COPPS are different ways of handling and assessing a crime that has come to their attention. If both styles were used, it would result in the progress of the case and solving it being slower than intended. Therefore, the only solution would be for the community to pick one method preferably the COPPS method and stick to it. This would also get rid of any incidences that would lead to either the community of the police force getting confused.

The style of policing that would be most effective in the world today is community oriented policing and problem solving. COPPS is a method that looks into the root cause of the problem. It seeks to address the issues that are affecting the community (Olsen, 2004). It does not concentrate only on the solving the crime, but also on how to avoid and prevent this issue from ever happening again. It addresses the root cause of the problem and how it can also be avoided in the future. The best thing about this method is the fact that it seeks to find applicable solutions that will make the problem not arise again. The fact that it involves the community makes it even better, as it means that each and every person will work to ensure that only the good of the community.

A combination of both methods of policing would not work in the world today. This is because the world is quickly evolving. It is the duty of each and every person to ensure that they work towards a good and healthy community (Peak & Glensor, 2002). If every single person worked towards the betterment of the community, it would help deal with the crimes that have eroded the society as a whole. COPPS gives the community and the police an opportunity to work together. They get an opportunity to earn each other’s trust and be able to build the security of the country. On the other hand, traditional policing is one sided. The police department continues to have a façade that makes them seem unapproachable.

Both styles need to adopt new elements so that they can better be implemented in future. This will help in the successful supervision and leadership of the police. Traditional policing needs to open up and include the community when they are in the process of solving the cases that they find. They need to ensure that they fully include the community as it is through understanding each other is where they will be able to work together. Traditional policing also needs to break the barriers of communication between the two parties and ensure that only the best can be got (Bennett, Hess & Orthmann, 2007). As for COPPS what need to improve are the representatives from the community need to go through a rigorous training and vetting process. This is important as it ensures that the right people are accorded the right skills and techniques that enable them to protect the community against any security threats. COPPS also has to have specific instructions that ensure that there is no form of discrimination or favoritism. The community is given the skills that they need to give them an upper hand when it comes to resolving crimes.

It is evident that there are a number of similarities and differences when it comes to COPPS and traditional policing. The two methods of policing have borrowed from each other a number of techniques that are crucial in solving crimes. For the world to become a better place security needs to be of the highest quality (Peak & Glensor, 2002). This is why understanding the difference between the two methods is extremely important. It makes a person understand the details that are involved in criminal cases and can guide an individual into taking the right career path. Both methods are important though their effectiveness vary depending on the factors that are involved in the case that is being handled. That is why Local police departments thus discover there problems are not unique and that it is possible for communities with the same problem to assist and support each other (Touch & Grant, 2005). The police force has gone through different stages from traditional policing to what is currently used by majority of the countries, which is community oriented policing and problem solving abbreviated as COPPS.



Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity. (2009). Integrity in law enforcement. Canberra: Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Bennett, W. W., Hess, K. M., & Orthmann, C. M. H. (2007). Management and supervision in law enforcement.

De, P. R. J. (January 01, 2008). Organizational leadership and change management: Removing systems barriers to community-oriented policing and problem solving. The Police Chief, 65, 68-76.

Glensor, R. W., & Peak, K. (July 01, 2006). Implementing Change: Community-Oriented Policing and Problem Solving. Fbi Law Enforcement Bulletin, 65, 7, 14-21.

NORDLINGER, JAY. 2014. "A Job Like No Other." National Review 66, no. 17: 30-31. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed November 14, 2014)

Olsen, G. R. (January 01, 2004). Challenges to traditional policy options, opportunities for new choices: The Africa policy of the EU. The Round Table, 93, 375, 425-436.

Peak, K. J., & Glensor, R. W. (2002). Community policing and problem solving: Strategies and practices. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Toch, H., & Grant, J. D. (2005). Community Policing and Problem-Oriented Policing. In , Police as problem solvers: How frontline workers can promote organizational and community change (2nd ed.) (pp. 269-291). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10857-011

I put in bold where i added the references thanks just need you to look over for me make any changes i readded the thesis statement at the end of the paper as we are supposed to

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