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Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study

formed—by

any

standard.

Moreover,

conversations

with

school,

housing,

church, political, and other leaders, and observed interactions among them in

various forums, convincingly portrayed a high level of coordination and

laboration. come close

Size certainly facilitates to explaining it. It is not

such communication, but it does uncommon for organizational and

col- not bu-

reaucratic “wars” in other small cities to rival those of some and CCP staff explained their ability to work together by

large their

cities. City longevity—

most

of

the

players

had

been

around

for

a

long

time

and

had

learned

how

to

work tant,

together. Certainly, familiarity between individuals over time is impor- but cannot explain the level of collaboration either. “Old line bureau-

crats” can be notorious in their ability to stifle creativity and protect doms. Regardless of the explanation, Columbia officials achieved a rare of unity in their pursuit of a strategic vision for neighborhoods.

fief- level

The achievements of the Columbia Police Department were observable and impressive: since 1990, they moved to implement community policing, not as a program, but as a strategy of policing a city. The department has a clear philosophy about its functions—the groundwork was laid in Henley Homes— and it is now attempting to bring its tactics, infrastructure, and administra- tive processes into line with this philosophy. The forthcoming organizational study and task analysis are intended to help the department line up its infra- structure and administrative processes with its new function. This reorgani- zation is, of course, a daunting task—one that virtually every police depart- ment serious about shifting its strategy is confronted with—and it is yet to be seen how fruitful this exercise will be.

My own guess is it will get the department off to a start, but continued ex- perimentation, learning, and feedback will be required to get it right. But it is fair to ask whether such elements ever get it “right.” Since the early dec- ades of the twentieth century, police departments have struggled with issues

of selection, promotion, personnel evaluation,

only

marginally

satisfactory

at

best.

These

etc., and these issues remain comments do not demean at-

tempts to improve such systems: virtually every aspect of policing,

“measuring what matters” is important to from selection and maintenance of person-

nel, to the of officers,

establishment of problem priorities, bureaus, and departments.

to

measuring

the

productivity

Leadership has been an important factor in Columbia’s efforts. Chief Aus- tin’s vision of policing has become a core ingredient in virtually every attempt

to restore the quality of housing officials, who are

life

in

Columbia.

Other

city

officials,

especially

strong leaders in their own right, view their efforts

as

severely

constrained

without

close

collaboration

with

the

CPD.

Hence

the

emergence of the mobilizers/officers cannot overemphasize the impact

as the they,

bedrock of and their

the CCP program. residential officer

One col-

leagues, without

appear to have had in target neighborhoods—even up to late 1996, the support of CCP-funded service providers (this does not suggest

BOTEC Analysis Corporation

31

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