The attacks on American soil on the 11th September stirred up the issue of security globally, and the role played by law enforcers. Security, law and justice departments experienced a shaking up and scrutiny by the public. Law enforcers made attempts to catch the culprits. In Dearborn Michigan, campaigns made helped law enforcers in doing investigations by convincing people to come forward and be interviewed, so as to provide any information they might have in regards to the attacks.
In today’s world, such campaigns are usually a nifty tool to employ, in order to assist in the community policing. The Dearborn campaign was actually a form of community policing. However, its focus was on a particular group of people, that is, those of Arab origin or those hailing from countries with affiliations with the Al-Qaeda. In my opinion, I do not think such kinds of campaigns impede the community policing. At least, for the Dearborn campaign, the interviews were voluntary, and as such the residents of Dearborn were not under any obligation to record statements or even give any information pertaining to the September 11 attacks. The fact that the residents themselves volunteered goes to show that they were willing to assist the police with investigations. This reflects the fact that the residents of Dearborn, Michigan were aware of the benefits of community policing and did not shy away from their responsibilities to their society, as well as the entire nation.
The goals of community policing include; increasing public confidence in the local police departments, addressing citizen concerns, public education on the necessity of abiding by legislation. These goals must he upheld at all times, in order to enhance the security and peace among the people.
Zero tolerance policing is a firm, no-nonsense method of combating crimes. As such, law enforcers are under instructions to arrest any person found breaking the law, no matter which is the size of the crime or the circumstances under which the crime was committed. Both forms of policing are crucial in the maintenance of law and order in the society, but to some extent their goals work against each other. For instance, communities that fully use zero tolerance as a policing method tend to fear reporting crimes and illegal activities (especially those committed by people they know) for the ear of what could be done to them. Zero tolerance tends to instill the fear in both the perpetrators of crimes, as well as those who are victims of these crimes. Consequently, it works against the whole idea of crime prevention, because the society is in the fear which is exactly what community policing tries to prevent.
Also, zero tolerance to some extent instills a sense of alienation and rejection towards law enforcers. Petty offenders may tend to harbor bitter feelings towards law enforcers. As such, people in the society may develop mistrust and lack of confidence in law enforcers. This works against the community policing, which advocates for communities to build their trust in law enforcers.
In my opinion, the community policing is based on worthy goals that are aimed at reducing the crime rate in the society, as well as ensuring a harmonious relationship between the community members and the law enforcers. Of course, it has its own down side, such as in Chicago. However, this does not mean that community policing is a public relation gimmick.
On the contrary, community policing has brought much more benefits than evil. For instance, its practice in most areas, has made people feel they are part and parcel of the decision making process. This is because law enforcers seek the public opinion concerning matters, and the public is also allowed to voice its concerns. As such, legislation and regulations are not just introduced behind the board rooms and imposed on the people without their permission, but rather they are aware of the entire process and have a say in all things. This approach has gone a long way in creating a symbiotic relationship between the local police and residents and, as such, reduces friction between the two groups. In essence, community policing operates on a prevention and control policy which deals with identifying and solving a problem in the society, before it becomes a full-blown crime through the cooperation between locals and law enforcers.
On the other hand, I consider zero tolerance policing more of a gimmick stunt aimed at improving public relation image. This approach of policing faces criticism, due to its approach that redefines social problems in terms of security. That is, the poor are considered to be low life criminals restricted to only “street crimes”, which are those committed by fellows from low social status (Wacqant 99). According to Robinson (206), most citizens tend to view zero tolerance as brutal and even militaristic to some point and this, in turn, makes people lose their faith in law enforcers who practice it. In the end, both parties lose out, because no one is willing to cooperate with the other.