Drawing on the experiences of innovative police departments that have tried new approaches to policing in cities as diverse as Los Angeles, Newport News, Virginia, and London, this important book assesses what can be done by enterprising police chiefs and progressive communities to combat the crime and violence that currently engulf our cities.
The authors, faculty members of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, here trace the development of so-called reform policing, an influential strategy of law enforcement during much of this century. It involves removing police officers from their street beats, putting them in patrol cars and relying on calls to 911 to set them into action. This approach is now under attack--it is seen as purely reactive and often ineffective, for police frequently arrive late at the scene. Instead the authors recommend community policing (also called neighborhood policing), in which law officers seek direction from citizens. Veteran cops tend to resist the new approach, dismissing it as social work, but in their important, stubbornly unpolemical work Sparrow, Moore and Kennedy argue that it is the wave of the future, and clearly outline steps by which this practice can be implemented. (Nov.)