The video (“PolicyLab”) provides a presentation on Problem Oriented Policing (POP) delivered in 1999 by Dr. Dennis Kenney, a professor from John Jay College of criminal justice in New York. The presentation explains though many police officers suggests that problem-solving model does not work, but problem oriented policing exists in the law enforcement agency and investigations matter. Dr. Kenney also explains that POP model encapsulates selection of different programs, such as buy gun back, crack down, and school safety and conduction of its investigation (analysis) to justify responses to the problems. The model takes care of a crime before it happens. His presentation explains that the model will produce effective results once the police and city council chiefs express their inner desire to implement the program instead of doing it under external thrust or grant money. In this regard, Dr. Kenney (“PolicyLab”) cites the example of his work on school crime. In this project, police and school worked together to identify the source of the problem and proposed the remedy. However, it is an irony that police departments focused their attention only after 10 schools shooting occurred in two years and when federal funds became available for the project. Dr. Kenney draws attention that this is not how the problem-solving model should be implemented in policing. The police department before the shooting and federal funding should have noticed this problem. He explains that when model is used as a result of external thrust, it shows lack of commitment from the police department. In this regard, Dr. Kenney draws attention that police agencies should recognize that problem solving, and community policing is not a program; it is a concept and philosophy in averting crime, and police institutional managers need to promote the concept among police officers. Promotion of the concept among police officers will be successful when their work will be evaluated on how the officers implemented the concept in their work. If police institution does not evaluate officers on problem solving activities there is no incentive for the officers to use the model at their work. Dr. Kenney in his speech criticizes current approaches used in promoting the use of problem solving model among police officer. He mentioned not only the officers are not evaluated based on POP, but they also lack guidance about how to use it. Another principal issue that Dr. Kenney addresses is a conflict of interests among two police units, which is a hurdle in the successful implementation of POP.
Patrol officers and investigative officers departments are primarily engaged in crime solving activities. Petrol officer answers to the service and crime prevention calls, while investigation officers solve the crime. The dilemma is who is going to take responsibility of problem solving, and how it is going to be achieved. Assistant chief, John Walters suggests that patrolling officer should take more responsibility and conduct the investigation further before handing it over to the investigation officer (detective). Thus, detectives become a follow up officer in problem solving model. Dennis Kenney, who suggested lumping of call for services and investigative services (“PolicyLab”) together, argues assistant chief John Walter’s proposition. According to his opinion there is no significant differences between call for services and investigative services. Both services need to work together in POP. He suggests that patrol officers attending calls for services should be able to apply their skills in conducting a preliminary investigation. However, the trained detectives will be responsible in solving problems to eliminate future crime. Thus, two different parts of the police organization become an integral part of the problem-solving model. Dr. Kenney stresses that in this model investigators are not merely follow up officers they are the problem solver. This is where the principal difference in perception about problem solving model between the Assistant Chief John Walters (“PolicyLab”) and Dennis Kenney.
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Analysis of questions and answers
At the end of presentation, both Dennis Kenney and John Walters, the then Assistant Chief of San Diego Police department participated in answering questions of audience. In answering to a question if there is a misfit between basic problem solving model and cognitive process used by the young officers, assistant chief John Walters (“PolicyLab”) explained reactive and proactive approaches used in solving crime related issues, while Kenney observed society’s expectation of mechanical quick fix approach without going into detail of the problem and directive approach instead of the collaborative approach of professionals who are in charge of the problem places (“PolicyLab”). Assistant chief describes that both young police and investigative officer acts reactively once crimes takes place without being proactive which requires complex understanding of problem solving model. One of the concerns voiced by the audience if petrol officer should be involved in the investigation process or it is entirely a function of investigation officer. Dennis Kenney using problem solving model parameters explains that there exists a distinction between investigation and problem solving concepts. Patrol officer takes care of local aspect of the model by conducting a preliminary investigation at the crime place, while investigator addresses the same problem from the global aspect. In answering to another question, John Walters raised the problem about sharing information between patrol unit and investigation unit which eventually led the San Diego police department split the department among several assistant chiefs who took combined control of petrol unit, investigation unit and support unit, hoping that this method will increase information sharing.
Problem Oriented Policing (POP) and analysis of validity of opinions
Problem oriented policing (POP) is an innovative approach (“Problem oriented policing”) in crime and disorder solving process. Needless to say, it is desirable to prevent crime before it happens. The principle purpose of use of POP is to reduce or eliminate crimes. The advent of POP dates back to 70s of the last century. At that time, police professionals, policy makers and researchers put their efforts together to improve the effectiveness of policing “History of problem oriented policing”). Foundation of policing for many years was limited to random patrol, rapid response, and follow-up criminal investigation. Researcher used these findings as their groundwork to develop a new concept - problem oriented policing. It is a strategy initiated by professor Herman Goldstein (“What is POP”) of University of Wisconsin – Madison now adopted in the police agencies to evaluate and analyze crime and disorder problems. POP approach attacks the root of the crime and disorder – society and community. Researchers observe that arrest and prosecution does not eradicate the problem. However, dealing with community problems police can use a variety of methods to rectify recurrent problems. It is also observed that community encourages police involvement in their problem, because officers who have insight into community problems may offer at their discretion effective solutions to the community. This new approach thus encourages police agency to understand features of crime and community problems. The key elements (“A guide for problem solving”) of POP are; scanning, analysis, response, and assessment (SARA model). Problem scanning procedure involves the use of basic knowledge, review of information, and work with the community. Analysis procedure involves in finding underlying answer of the cause of the problem. Response procedure involves group work of different area of law enforcement agency to address the problem cause. Assessment procedure involves evaluation of all previous three procedures to ensure if a necessary solution is adopted. This short review of SARA model confirms Dr. Kenney’s speech and supports views expressed by Dennis Kenney and John Walters that the success of the problem-solving model depends on cooperation, coordination, and communication between patrol units and investigation units. Until now, most use of POP is within the patrol units, and its implementation within investigation unit is less common. On the contrary, according to Dr. Kenney’s presentation detective branch is the problem solver, and their involvement is essential. Detectives are more oriented in reactive approach – solve the crime once it occurred, which is tuned to society’s demand. However, POP requires as voiced by both Dennis Kenney and John Walters detective’s proactive approach to solve future crimes and violence. This is principal thrust of this new concept, which was presented at Seattle conference.
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