A Cop on Every Corner?

Ted Gest

in Crime and Politics

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195103434
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833887 | DOI:
A Cop on Every Corner?

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Before the 1960s crime wave, American police officers were little trained and spent much of their time responding to citizen calls about crime. A Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) in the 1970s began to upgrade police education. A round of studies questioned the effectiveness of police patrol tactics. Analysts advocated more sophisticated methods, called ‘problem‐oriented policing’ and later the more general ‘community policing.’ New York lawyer Adam Walinsky promoted a concept called the Police Corps that would encourage more college‐educated officers. The reform ideas coalesced in the presidency of Bill Clinton, who successfully argued for federal funding for an additional 100,000 community‐oriented local officers, an idea that Walinsky complained was a watered‐down form of his concept (which still was instituted on a smaller scale). Clinton's Attorney General, Janet Reno, was initially skeptical of the massive federal program called ‘Community Oriented Policing Services’ (COPS), but she eventually backed it. It was not certain how many officers were hired and permanently funded—it may have been closer to 50,000—but the program did have a significant impact on police hiring in the nation. Less clear was the effect of COPS on the crime rate. The program's supporters asserted success, but other factors like the economy, demographics and alternate policing methods might have been just as important.

Keywords: Bill Clinton; community policing; COPS; Law Enforcement Education Program; police; Police Corps; police reform; problem‐oriented policing; Janet Reno; Adam Walinsky

Chapter.  14418 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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