Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study
ous neighborhoods, at least until he has the time and opportunity to get to them. The many other activities on which Cruz concentrates include solving neighborhood trash problems, overseeing summer interns, conducting work- shops, dealing with other quality-of-life issues such as drainage; and lectur- ing at local colleges and universities. Several signs of Officer Cruz’s success are evident. For instance Cruz’s office is in a public housing development that, until he was assigned there, always required two cars to service calls— officers in the second car were sent to protect the first car from being trashed. Now Officer Cruz regularly parks either his personal or police car in front of his office without worry, even when he is not at his office. Moreover, in what is perhaps a minor but significant outcome, pizza delivery has been restored to the housing development since his assignment to the neighborhoods—a sign of commerce and services returning to the neighborhood.
Besides their network of social and city service providers, the three commu- nity mobilization officers are supported by residential police officers. Resi- dential officers, now numbering fifteen (five in each of the three areas), work primarily as law enforcers, but in the community policing mode, so that they are able to work in very close collaboration with the officer mobilizers.
The self-described work of one of these residential officers, a community foot patrol officer, proved instructive. In it one sees the strong foundation that community policing provides to CCP-style efforts. This officer’s beat spans two juxtaposed neighborhoods whose contrast is highlighted by the fact that these neighborhoods are divided, literally, by one street. On one side stand aging houses, some nearly dilapidated; on the other side stands comfortable,
upper-middle class homes. was the African-American
In talking about these neighborhoods, not only officer well-versed in the ideas that inhere in
community policing, he was a friendly and affable young man who showed great concern for his neighborhoods. He understood that in one neighbor- hood, its residents, the city, the police department, and he himself had to ar- rest urban decline and restore the community. In the next neighborhood, he had to ensure that it maintained its viability. The observed professional re- lationship between the officer and a resident of this neighborhood (an upper middle class lawyer and community activist) was immediately obvious—with the citizen going out of his way to warmly receive and praise the officer and police department. The citizens’ desires were explicit: to maintain the vi- ability of the neighborhood by keeping crime low, fast traffic under control, and property values up—all essential if his neighbors were going to stay in Columbia rather than move to the suburbs. And for him, the foot patrol offi- cer was the answer to all three problems.
This incident is instructive of the remarkable possibilities for effective police- citizen collaboration. Here is a white middle-class neighborhood being pa- trolled by an African-American in a police department headed by an African- American, a situation that many, if not most whites dreaded, not only in the
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