Power To The People — RIGHT!
The following Editorial, however well intentioned, is really an condemnatory indictment of the Eureka Police Department. The fact that the EPD had to institute the Problem Oriented Policing program speaks for itself. It’s purpose, apparently defined below, was to get the people calling on the police to respond. Apparently the general public “did NOT have a sense of buy-in.” They’d call in and get the run-around. My personal experience was, not only did I get the run-around, their failure to do their job made the matter worse. That would make me a prime candidate for some new empowering police program, right?
“This is effective policing”? If we didn’t have “effective policing” BEFORE, why do we need a new “empowering program” now when all the police need to do is the job they are paid to do?
So, what’s the real message this program is sending? Unless the police get the powers they want, we the people, the one’s that they are here to supposedly protect and serve, divest us of everything, including our tax dollars, until they get their way. You can read how this all works here.
While the POP program in and of itself may be a useful tool and even an asset to the community, it’s very existance, as justified in the following Editorial, definitely “sends” the wrong message.
This is the Sunday, January 17, 2010 Times-Standard Editorial copied here verbatim:
Empowering the people
Posted: 01/17/2010 01:30:15 AM PST
Law enforcement in this and any community works best when residents have a sense of buy-in. If Eurekans feel like their concerns and observations are noted by police, and that action is taken when crimes are committed and reported, then they are much more likely to take umbrage at crimes committed on their doorstep, and report them.
In two recent cases at least, the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing program has yielded investigations and arrests. These were allegedly problem properties that had attracted the attention of neighbors, and their efforts to see these problems addressed led to concrete action on the part of law enforcement officials.
This success only serves to reinforce the program — as more and more residents realize that their calls actually result in action and enforcement, you can bet more and more calls will be made. This is effective policing. [Emphasis mine.]
Neither of the two recent busts led to major arrests. But that is not the point. The program is working quickly to give Eureka residents confidence that its police department is working to address the problems that affect their lives.
At the same time, it’s sending signals to criminals within city limits that their actions will have consequences. Their activity will not be tolerated, and their neighbors, for so long simply passive witnesses to crime that went on all around them, are suddenly empowered. When people are invested, and feel like they can make a difference by policing their own communities, that’s when positive change can really occur.
A good explanation of Problem Oriented Policing — POP — is here.