“Community Service Police,” by Dr. James R. Wining

Two conflicting issues persist for many police departments and for the general public throughout the USA. First, is the increased costs of staffing a police force in the 21th Century. Second, is the apparent growing conflicts the police departments are having with the general public. With the extreme social pressure of COV-19, crime has dramatically risen and there has been a corresponding development of new social and racial tension between the police and the general public. Is there a solution for both issues that works for the police and the general public?

Not all crime is violent and dangerous to respond. Without breaking it down with data published as current but dated years ago, it is fair to say a significant portion of a police force is entangled with non-violet crimes such as motor vehicle, theft, burglary, embezzlement, fraud, public intoxication, and drug possession. In fact, these types of policing may not even require the necessity of firearms. However, there costs of policing are nearly the same as for violent crime policing.

What if we could answer both problems with one solution? Let us consider starting at the community level with a “Community Service Police (CSP)” Officer drawn from the young ranks of men and women. This would be similar in nature to “Peace Corps,” or a non-combatant military draftee. They would serve 24 months, be paid minimum wage, receive credit hours in college education, and be assigned non-violent crime policing duties. 

This solution should reduce police staff costs, improve time allocations for experienced staff work on violent crimes and open the police department up to more participation from the general public.  This solution framed CSP should promote good will, educate the youth about police work and open/strengthen community cooperation in crime. While there are many moving variables with the CSP officer program the objective is to answer the two problems of public awareness and public support. This is hopefully a positive step in violence control and public awareness.