Community policing has always been a core operational fabric of the Temple Police Department. The focus was to ensure that the police and the community work together to define and develop solutions to crime and quality-of-life problems. Social order in the community is primarily the outcome of informal social processes rather than the result of formal social control mechanisms such as police activity. It is thus important to stimulate citizen participation in crime participation and problem-solving activities in the community. As Tempe is situated in a strong technological environment, the use of Information System by the police department to enhance community policing is of prevalence. Since the implementation of the philosophy in 1988, residents of Tempe have expected an innovative action from the police department. Officers who are working at a specified beats need to develop an inherent problem-solving goals with their immediate supervisors. To effectively achieve this phenomenon, the officers are to be deployed in their respective beats for a minimum period of one year. As such, some of the lessons that have been learned from Tempe Police Department’s Network implementation include problem solving process, centralization of IT systems, implementation of crime analysis Unit, and effective operation analysis.
At one time, technology was decentralized but ever since the cost and complexity of technology increased, the city centralized all IT systems including that of the police department into one city Information Technology Division (ITD) (Webb et al., 1999). It was a positive move in the police force structure, however, some of the communications staff and patrol commanders were unwilling to hand over the control of IT to the centralized IT system’s management. Financially, the city was able to coordinate IT effectively, as they could be able to better integrate the systems and, through the economies of scale, buy in bulk some of the IT components. In order to prompt the activities of the police department, the city assigned ITD business analyst to the department to advocate and liaison for activities in the sector. Centralization of the IT systems has enhanced the police department to successfully plan information technology acquisitions in order to support community policing in Tempe region.
The decision of absorbing the four police positions and the accompanying responsibilities in order to pave way for the condensed or centralized organization is linked to the view that police officers will fare well in most of the decision making processes and procedures. The integration of IT across the city departments ensured that standardized Oracle database is achieved for all mid-to large size databases which are then managed by ITD (Buren, 2007).
Centralization of IT system is not seen as self-serving but rather communal serving. The reorganization ensured that Criminal Justice Operations Committee and Criminal Justice Automation Committee were merged. Indeed, centralization enhanced knowledgeable service administrators to handle the IT decisions rather than the less-qualified police employees.
Effective Operations analysis
The Workload Committee has been established by Tempe Police Department to oversee and analyze the administrative and operational data so as to enhance resource allocation planning. The Staff Wizard software program is used by the department to enhance data analysis for easy development of schedules for beta officer staffing. It uses a variety of data including calls for service, average response for calls having wide priorities, and miles patrolled to provide an approximate “best schedule” for officers (Webb et al., 1999). The software ensures that officer’s deployment decision is well shaped. In some instances, the software uses Calls-for-service (CFS) data and other operations and administrative data to generate draft schedules that can be coherently reviewed by the supervisors, and make informed decisions and recommendations where there is need for schedule adjustment to the command staff. Tempe articulated to this Staff Wizard and Corona systems worked effectively with the department in order to test, modify, and refine the software.
The established Staff Wizard has ensured that the crime trends that are prepared by the crime analysis unit represent a form of scanning, albeit somewhat informal. As the crime analysis develops a very large quantity of useful information, systematic scanning is not use by the management in developing a decisive implementation. The department’s coordinated efforts with the city agencies, such as the planning and development and traffic engineering, also involve it in the limited scanning processes.
Implementation of Crime analysis unit
The Tempe Police Department Crime Analysis Unit is a good example of how crime analysis can use CFS data and make it useful to beat officers. As such, much of the responsibility for using police information systems in supporting Community policing rests with Crime Analysis Unit. The unit undertakes analyses that aim at identifying crime trends, which are relative to small geographic areas. Trends are always considered the beginning of crime hot spots. Contrary to this, trend also provides information on suspects and crime characteristics (Kappeler, 2009). Ideally, the staff performs three types of analysis—strategic, administrative, and tactical. The unit provides police information to citizens of Tempe either through individual request or the Tempe Police website. The projects that were initiated successfully by Crime Analysis Unit are the monthly reports on police activity and crime, an ongoing series of tactical crime trend reports, and monthly and annual reports on crime and calls-for-service by specified land uses.
Under the information systems that are imminent in the Crime Analysis Unit, the use of Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) has been implemented positively. The system uses the Public Safety Systems Incorporated (PSSI) designed and supported software. Indeed, the unit also produces a number of maps that can be accessed by citizens on the Tempe Police Department website. These include monthly Part I crime hot spot maps and the beat maps. Maps are aimed at determining the reporting district location of their own address based on the information available in the system. In conducting an annual survey on citizen and preparing a report that summarizes the survey findings, the crime analysis unit is quite effective. The site is elaborates and contains various categories of information ranging from sex offender to crime prevention database. As such, the Tempe Crime Analysis Unit is most importantly a key component in forging a community interface with residents.
Development of CAD-based system for the documentation of officer time spent on solving a problem is clearly inclined and permits automated level-of-effort data aggregation and summarization. Indeed, the vital objective is to quantify such activities so as to incorporate it into performance reviews and strategic management decisions that are related to department resource allocation (Webb et al., 1999). The department is able to evaluate the performance of each officer on both traditional and Community-Oriented policing activities. As such, under the “Additional Work Group” section of Performance Evaluation where the officers are evaluated on proactive problem solving, team project participation, and beat ownership. In addition, solicitation of citizens’ input is done through variety of methods with the help of community policing. Tempe is organized into various beats that enhances dissemination of information from the central core unit. Beat officers seem to be well aware of the requirements for beat problem-solving projects, and officers and line supervisors appear to develop intimate understanding of the neighborhood encompassed in their beat.
Fighting crime needs an effective way of disseminating information— this is achieved through community policing strategy and networking. Tempe Police department have spearheaded in undertaking this implementation in the police department and it has achieved immensely from the operations. Centralization of IT systems has been done under one unit and this has enhanced the control and management of the police activities. It has ensured that decision making process does not conflict among the police departments. In addition, Effective Operations analyses have been undertaken prior to the establishment of Tempe Police Department that oversee and analyze the administrative and operational data so as to enhance resource allocation planning. Implementation of Crime analysis unit that uses CFS data and making it useful to beat officers has been achieved in the city. As such, much of the responsibility for using police information systems in supporting Community policing rests with Crime Analysis Unit. It is clear that articulation to the Tempe Police Department’s Network implementation will enhance community-oriented policing.