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Partnering Law Enforcement and Private Security
August 11th, 2017 Van Bethea
While I was serving in California law enforcement, community policing was being implemented into neighborhoods throughout the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. The idea was to establish a partnership with various entities such as businesses and schools in a joint effort to solve community problems and combat crime. At the time, I was assigned by our chief of police to implement a paradigm shift to community policing throughout our agency and community, and I spent the next year learning about this relatively new approach to policing.
The basic concept of community policing is to promote a wide variety of resources and strategies to mitigate potential situations that might create safety issues for the public. For example, crime, and the fear of crime as well as social unrest, are public safety issues that community policing sought to address.
To tackle these problems, community policing involves working partnerships with municipal agencies, private sector businesses, individual citizens, and the media to develop methods to keep communities safe and secure. The objective is to utilize a variety of resources and private sector entities to address crime, mitigate risk and pinpoint safety issues in the community rather than leaving it up to the police force.
Law enforcement agencies across the country today are facing manpower cuts and reduced budgets yet, still, carry the responsibility of ensuring that communities are safe and secure while reducing vulnerabilities against terrorism and many other hazards. This is an area where I strongly believe that collaborative public-private sector partnerships are just as vital today as community policing was in the 70s and 80s.
Back in the 1980s, police agencies and private sector security companies did not operate with mutual goals and objectives. Today, police are working with security companies on many collaborative issues and information sharing. Law enforcement managers and field officers now rely on trained security professionals to monitor locations, advise on potential crime trends and be the eyes and ears throughout every aspect of the community. For example, private sector entities actively respond to national emergencies and are retained to provide protective services and crisis response solutions to not only large corporations but also private citizen travelers when the need exists globally.
Partnerships between law enforcement and private technology companies have grown exponentially in a wide variety of areas including advanced computer and communications capabilities, CCTV, mobile cameras, drones, GPS tracking, robotics and forensics analysis. These partnerships have led to more efficient crime response, suspect identification, and crime resolution at greatly reduced costs compared to traditional policing methods used in the past.
If we take a good look at how collaboration is defined, we see that the concept of cooperating in partnerships can provide significant benefits to all participants and the citizens of a community.
These partnership benefits can start almost immediately once private sector entities and law enforcement realize they can accomplish their goals and objectives more effectively due to the mutual synergies involved. These advantages multiply and serve to achieve goals at significantly lower costs.