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Defining Community Policing
. . .
a work in progress

Bill Murray - 7/25/02


Defining Community Policing at LAPD

The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to "community policing" ... but what exactly does that mean?

I was pleased to learn that Chief Martin Pomeroy wants to know, too. He's asked Commander Jim McDonnell, the Special Assistant to the Chief of Police, to put together a definition of Community Policing ... a kind of "mission statement" for Community Policing at LAPD.

Among other duties related to FASTRACK and reporting that evaluates command effectiveness to the Chief, McDonnell was recently assigned as the Departmentís Senior Lead Officer (SLO) program coordinator, and the Safe Parks coordinator ... and he provides management oversight for the Departmentís Community Policing efforts and strategies.

"The Chief believes a meaningful definition for community policing will be an important tool in helping shape the relationship between the community and the Department as we move forward," Commander McDonnell explained. "My staff and I are putting this together, and have produced a working definition. But it's a work in progress and at this point we're seeking input from the community."

I asked Commander McDonnell how soon he thought the Department would complete the process.

"While we'd like to have a definition for the community and for our officers as soon as possible," he said, "it's certainly not something that should be developed in a vacuum. This is too important to be handled like that. We'll not hurry through this at the expense of not giving the community as well as the Department an opportunity for input."

Commander McDonnell forwarded a copy of the working definition to me, but again stressed this is a work in progress.

"Please help me get the word out," he said. "We're getting a lot of positive response to this already, and we want to make sure everyone's included."

You can contact Commander Jim McDonnell with your feedback at the office of the Special Assistant to the Chief by calling: 213 / 485-2985

Here's the working definition so far:


(a work in progress)

The Definition

Community Policing is both an organizational strategy and personal philosophy that promotes police/community partnerships and proactive problem solving along with other public service agencies and community-based organizations to:

1. Reduce crime
2. Reduce the fear of crime
3. Improve the overall quality of life in our neighborhoods
4. Improve customer satisfaction with police service

Components of Community Policing

1. Partnership between police and community
2. Partnership between police and other community agencies/resources
3. Identifying, prioritizing, and solving problems
4. Universal participation by Department employees and our City/Government counterparts
5. Maintenance of Public Order (Broken Window issues)
6. A commitment to the "territorial imperative" in order to build relationships and develop trust over time

The Concept

Community Policing is a customer service-oriented approach to policing that embodies a true partnership, one in which all stakeholders advise, listen and learn, and the resultant strategies reflect that input. Community Policing involves a commitment from all Department employees at every level in the organization to work smarter in finding creative approaches to traditional and non-traditional problems, and to do so in an environment that recognizes and rewards integrity, creativity, courage and commitment.

Community Policing in the Los Angeles Police Department will empower our communities to harden their targets. Community Policing is about information gathering, it's about talking to people, and it's about results. As such, it is a force multiplier that causes us to look out, proactively, for one another and make use of all available resources. The result will be reduced crime and an improved quality of life in our City. It is important that we treat one another and our customers the way we would want a member of our family to be treated. It is about viewing Los Angeles as our home, whether or not this is the City in which we live. Through Community Policing, we will march together toward a shared vision of our Department, our residents, our business communities, and our visitors of making Los Angeles the safest big city in the world.



Commander Jim McDonnell
Special Assistant to the Chief

213 / 485-2985


see also:

Defining "Community Policing" - feedback

A letter from Dr. Arthur Jones and Dr. Robin Wiseman
to friends of Community Policing:
LAPD, Police Commission, Mayor Hahn


Note: This list will not be shared with any other group, nor will it be used for purposes other than promoting Los Angeles Community Policing.

Yours in service,

Bill Murray

Thank you for supporting your LAPD Officers.

feel free to send comments to:

copyright 2002,
Los Angeles Community Policing