Criminal Justice

COPPS and Problem Solving Policing

Community oriented policing, problem solving and COPPS have created many changes in traditional police organizational structures. How appropriate policies, procedures, rules, and regulations are developed with the COPPS problem solving methods differ from the traditional bureaucratic method. Police organizations, including the positions of chief executives, mid-level managers, and first-line supervisors have had to change as COPPS has been adopted.

COPPS is a problem solving method with an emphasis on evaluating outcomes. (Peak) It is applied to all kinds of issues including managing the use of force, border issues, vehicular pursuits, racial profiling, missing persons, and issues concerning women and minorities. (Peak) COPPS is a proactive philosophy for problem solving issues that are criminal, that affect quality of life, or increase citizen’s fear of crime. (The Free Library) Community problems are identified, analyzed, and addressed at the source of the problem. (The Free Library) In order to implement COPPS successfully in a traditional police organization, the agency must move from a reactive, incident-driven philosophy by rebuilding the leadership and management, orgizational culture field operations, and external relationships.

Changes in leadership and management start with forming a new mission statement consistent with COPPS and with training lieutenants, captains, and sergeants in COPPS methodology. Providing administrative support and seeing themselves as facilitators for officers are two important changes management and supervisors need to make. Organizational culture, or the set of norms for an agency, must change to meet COPPS philosophy for recruiting, selecting, training, evaluating, promoting, rewarding, and disciplining employees. Since officers are the focus for problem solving in field operations, the time spent on non-police functions needs to be reduced, reliable data given at all times, and fixed shifts and beats assigned long-term. Because COPPS is focused on outcomes, it requires that police agencies work together with health, fire, zoning, and social service agencies to share information and solve neighborhood and community problems jointly. (The Free Library)

Works Cited

Peak, K. J. Justice administration: Police, courts, and corrections management (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010.

The Free Library. Implementing change: community-oriented policing and problem solving . 1996. Document. 29 April 2013.