Going Beyond The Uniform: Community Policing Practices in Ferguson, Missouri
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Community-Oriented Policing (COP) is an approach in policing that has been around since the 1990’s. Many police organization across the United States have however been slow in adopting this approach. This paper looks at community-oriented policing at the local level by studying the case of Ferguson because several questions regarding the effectiveness and lack of success of this approach have been raised in current academic literature. Since the 2014 unrests, Ferguson has been at the centre of media and academic attention. Much of the current research on police militarization mentions Ferguson as an example. The Ferguson Police Department has a strong focus on community-oriented policing as a result of agreeing to a Consent Decree with the Federal Government. This thesis uses the case of Ferguson to study community policing by answering the question of how community policing practices have shaped the relationship between the police and the community in Ferguson since the 2014 unrests. This question will be answered through a qualitative study of policing and police-community interactions in Ferguson. In order to analyse the data collected during fieldwork, this paper proposes the Police Action Model, an analytical tool that will help analyse interactions between police officers and individuals.