The Sensibility of Turning Community-Oriented Policing into a Force of Civility and Democracy




Souryal, Sam S.

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Law Enforcement Executive Forum


This article suggests changing the mission of Community-Oriented policing officers by making them agents of civility and re-enforcers of democracy by teaching them Liberal Arts including (i.e. reasoning, logic, discretion and justification. As a better educated group, they are then serve group organizers, role models, teachers, peace makers as well as peace keepers. More significantly, they should uphold Constitutional and democratic values by acting with justice, honesty, equality, fairness, and compassion-- all without bias associated with race, national origin, color, or ethnicity. As a result, they would be better able to practice communication, mentoring, and problem solving. At this time, CP0s should be actively engaged in civic engagement, caring for people's welfare, keeping streets open and clean, reporting sewage leaks, removing graffiti, organizing the use of cabs, observing the rule of "first come-first serve," solving small and mundane disputes, and more importantly, treating citizens as ends rather than means. In turn, they can accelerate the growth of civility and the ascendency of democracy--all while lowering crime rates. Such a drop in crime rates would more likely be a direct result of encouraging legitimate and open avenues to government offices, enjoying equal justice by criminal justice agents, and treating each individual with "true" dignity and respect. As such, CP0s can positively reshape community culture in such a manner not different from those in highly developed nations (i.e., Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, New Zealand, and, among Asian countries, Singapore and Hong Kong). By espousing this new mission, CPOs can encourage a culture of civility within communities (i.e. on the streets, at homes, at schools as well as on trains, buses, and cabs. The outcome of such endeavors would most likely create a closer bond between police, civility, and democracy. Such a collaborative relationship has always led to stability of government, happiness of citizens, and the fulfillment of social good.


Article published in Law Enforcement Executive Forum in 2011


community-oriented policing, hard policing, soft policing, Civility, democracy


Souryal, S. S.(2011) The Sensibility of Turning Community-Oriented Policing into a Force of Civility and Democracy. Law Enforcement Executive Forum, 11(4),165-184.