Hot of the press: Future Trends in Policing from the COPS Office, PERF, and the Target Corporation. It is a report of a 2012 survey and summary of a one-day session with police leaders on the "Future of Policing."
It reveals what some police executives think might happen in future. Is it a prophesy we really want?
TREND: COMMUNITY POLICING?
The survey reported 94% of respondents said their agency was involved in community policing, 89% in problem-oriented policing (COPS). Good news, right?
I've taught hundreds of police instructors over the past few years. Every time I ask them about COPS few, if any, admit to knowing anything beyond the superficial. Practically none of their agencies are doing anything beyond a small sprinkling of COPS specialists, less than 10% at best.
Last month I asked again, this time whether they knew anything about problem-oriented policing. The class had instructors from the east coast, mid-west, Canada, and the south. Same results: Out of 25 police instructors only 1 knew what POP was and he was from Madison, Wisconsin (the home of the POP Center).
Do police survey responders inflate whether they are doing COPS when they respond to a national survey on the topic? Saying one thing, doing another?
TREND: SCIENCE TO THE RESCUE
Future Trends had very little discussion of problem-oriented policing. In 45 pages of text it was cited only 3 times.
I did however notice the report was awash in GPS, cybercrime, body cameras, facial recognition software, predictive policing algorithms and intelligence-led policing. My personal favorite was NG 911 - Next-Generation 911.
[NERD ALERT: I love that stuff. Anytime I hear references to Star Trek - The Next Generation, my nerd-o-meter tingles. Beam me up!]
In other words science will come to our rescue? Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, what a wonderful day!
Survey statement: "In the future agencies will place less emphasis on community policing."
75% of police agencies in the survey disagreed with that statement. Glass-half-full, right? But 25% offered no opinion or actually agreed that in future cops will do less community policing!
In other words, after 35 years of publications, conferences, training courses, and successes that account for at least some reduced crime, 1-in-4 police survey respondents see less community policing in the years ahead! Sounds more like a glass half-empty!
Considering the Ferguson riots two weeks ago that portends a bleak future.
Next week: Part 2 - The good news