Community Policing Initiative
One of the core strategies in the Brunswick Police Department’s Strategic Plan is to “promote a positive partnership between the citizens of Brunswick and the members of the police department.”
In order to fulfill this strategy, the Brunswick Police Department spent much of 2008 and the early part of 2009 planning and preparing for the initiation of a community oriented policing (COP) philosophy. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services:
“Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.”
In the past, Capt. Bill Probus of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department provided COP training to command staff, supervisors, and officers. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office is a highly successful long-time practitioner of the community oriented policing philosophy. Everyone in the department, including all civilian staff members, received COP training.
One of the key components of community oriented policing is the establishment of partnerships between police and those in the community. Our goal is to establish deeper relationships with those we serve – residents, business owners, community leaders – in order to provide more effective police services. Another key component is the process of active problem solving. This philosophy emphasizes proactive problem solving rather than just responding to crime after it occurs; officers work, often hand-in-hand with community leaders, to develop solutions to many of the underlying conditions that contribute to crime problems.
The final phase of implementation of the community oriented policing philosophy was the assignment of street-level officers to permanent patrol zones. This Geo-Based Policing strategy is a system in which officers are assigned to neighborhood zones in order to develop greater accountability, familiarity, and comfort between the police force and the residents they serve. Geo-Based Policing attaches names and personalities with the department, so that more personal relationships can be formed and more collaborative solutions to neighborhood law enforcement concerns can be created. The neighborhood’s officers are available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and those interested in meeting the officers will be acting as liaisons, talking about neighborhood crime trends, and listening to neighbors’ concerns.