MARC S. POSNER
North County News
Orange County Register
26 June 1993: B05.
Increasing crime, tight money and a more diverse public have police working harder these days.
But state Attorney General Dan Lungren said Friday that police officers soon will be working smarter and more closely with the community.
Lungren and several local police chiefs were on hand at Golden West College to launch what they called the most innovative training program in the nation.
The college’s Criminal Justice Training Center — one of three police academies in the county and 37 in California — will be the first in the state to teach community-based policing. Graduates receive state certification to become police officers.
It means that in addition to classes on weapons, laws, report writing and radio codes, recruits will receive enhanced training in community relations, problem solving and dealing with fear. Training officers from a number of the county’s police departments will attend an intensive, 18-hour course in community policing at the center later this year, chiefs said.
Technology such as the 911 system and a more mobile society are among factors that have forced officers into their cars and off the sidewalk beat over the past few decades, Lungren said.
While 911 and advanced mobile communications are invaluable, Lungren said they have also made “incident response” the focus of policing. When cops walked the beat, the focus was on people, he said.
“Community-oriented policing encourages increased police-community interaction,” Lungren said. “Police officers and community members become real people to one another with individual faces, not just stereotypes. Working together, police and communities can make their neighborhoods, parks, schools and business areas safer.
“(In 1991) many criminal-justice experts and some in the field of law enforcement scoffed at the concept of community policing. `Hook ’em and book ’em, that’s our job,’ we were told,” Lungren said. “These skeptics are right. Hook ’em and book ’em is our job, but that’s not really the complete role of policing. …
“If we can work with communities to prevent crimes, we should be as proud as when we solve crimes,” Lungren said.
And that’s just how it will be, Tustin Police Chief W. Douglas Franks said.
“We no longer are going to tell the community how we are going to police them,” Franks said. “We are going to empower (officers) to make decisions in the field. (It’ll be) a partnership with the community we serve.”
Copyright Orange County Register Jun 26, 1993