When most people think of policing, it is often in the context of traditional policing, meaning that an officer's work solely consists of answering calls for service and reacting to crimes that have occurred, including arrests of offenders. Even though this will always be a part of policing, there is a more comprehensive approach to our role in society found in the philosophy of community policing.
Community policing is defined as:
"a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime."
- Community Oriented Policing Service (COPS)
With this approach, officers work with the community in order to proactively deter and prevent crimes, problems, and nuisance activity, focusing on areas that have higher volumes of calls for service, along with an expectation that action will be taken by the police. You will note that a key word in the title is community. In order for the philosophy to become a reality for us, we need to engage and participate with the community. The Madison Police Department has a long and well-known history of community policing, working with these concepts since the 1980s. It is an aspect of policing that we truly value.
Some of our most recent examples in the East District have been work in specific neighborhoods addressing issues that have been areas of concern for the nearby neighbors. While these examples tend not to be as visible to all, they are very important to those neighbors impacted by the activity. One key component of these recent cases is the neighbors' willingness to talk to us about their concerns, share observations, and discuss potential solutions. This collaboration will ultimately lead to a successful resolution.
Community policing is considered a priority for each Madison Police officer when performing his or her duties. In addition, we have officers who focus more time on these community policing activities, specifically the Community Policing Team (CPT) and neighbor police officers (NPOs). The CPT officers serve as liaisons for all East District neighborhoods, so each officer serves multiple neighborhoods. The NPO is a position with full-time responsibility in a single area that needs focused policing services.
In 2015, we will be implementing the neighborhood resource officer (NRO) as a district resource. This position lands between the CPT and the NPO, with the flexibility to address several neighborhoods. More like an NPO, they will focus on a limited number of specific neighborhoods, providing a high-level of service. The concept is to provide more intensive services to help to maintain the elements of community life that enhance neighborhood safety. The position supports the self-sufficiency of the neighborhood to resolve issues that arise.
We would like to renew our commitment to work with neighbors on the problems and concerns they have. While we try to focus on community outreach, we would like to extend an open invitation to community members to reach out to the Police Department, as well. Collaboration is vital to successful community policing and we want to hear your comments, questions, and concerns. Anyone is welcome to submit comments to the Madison Police Department. From the website, comments are then directed to the captain of the district to which they pertain. Please follow the link below to the submission page.
In addition, we urge members of the community to fill out our annual survey, which will help us tailor our department to your needs. You can also find a link to that survey below.