The federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office has a new director, Ronald L. Davis. Well, he’s not totally new. He has been on the job for a few weeks, but he’s still getting adjusted. Davis is a former veteran of the Oakland, California Police Department. He was also Police Chief of the East Palo Alto, California police department. He now heads up the COPS office in Washington, DC. COPS is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice dedicated to community policing and advances the practice of community policing in America’s state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies.
Community policing is something that’s near and dear to my heart. Getting law enforcement back into the community and up close and personal with its residents is my opinion of one of the most effective ways to deal with crime. Lots of people have biases against the police, refusing to cooperate with officers. There could be a group of people having fun, 20 people standing around having fun, but if there’s a crime and police personnel need to investigate, oftentimes nobody saw or heard a thing, even if they really did see or hear exactly what happened. People are fearful of police officers and don’t like to get involved.
This really isn’t anything new. I think about an old episode of “I Love Lucy (titled Lucy and the Loving Cup, Season 6, Episode 12), in which Lucy was stranded in Grand Central Station in NYC with a loving cup stuck on her head. She couldn’t see a thing, walking about, feeling her way around. She hears a voice ask, “Would a policeman help?” and Lucy declines and begins a long tirade about police officers being nothing but trouble who ask a lot of useless questions. That episode was from 1957, and many people today still hold those same sentiments about police officers.
The COPS initiative aims to create a bridge between police agencies and communities, where they get to know residents and business owners personally before there is a crisis. It also helps departments do a better job of targeting problem areas of their jurisdiction. This is designed to get folks more familiar with the police officers in their neighborhoods and help police officers isolate and identify problems proactively.
The new COPS director agreed to be interviewed about his vision for the agency. Check it out here if you’re interested. The new Cops director agreed to be interviewed about his vision for the agency. Be sure to check it out.