The democratic notion of community policing remains virtually sacrosanct despite widespreadcriticism. It has been disparaged in Great Britain as a romantic delusion if not an attempt toenhance the authoritarian powers of an evolving racist state. That is hardly the case in our smalltown. In any event, practices may not be the ones preached. There has been a marked tendencyfor police to revert to traditional crime fighting, responding to incidents instead of consultingwith civilians and being proactive. The rank-and-file may have little or no faith in the communitypolicing ideology to begin with. Resources including the means of communication may beinadequate. Whatever communication does exist may have been dominated by smooth-talkingpolice commanders, journalists, middle class people over forty, and so on. Absent also has beenthe promised visibility of familiar police officers, especially on foot patrols. And just keepingofficers within a sector may be a fantasy that can never come true because of the contingencies.The Miami Beach Police Department brass has indeed reached out to the community, holdingneighborhood meets and greets and neighborhood walkarounds. Captain Causey in the SouthDistrict, for example, regularly drafts and emails a newsletter to community members, andresponds to anyone who comes forward with concerns. Six foot patrolmen, two on each shift,have been assigned to patrol nightclub-ridden Washington Avenue in South Beach. Those stepscertainly enhance visibility and transparency, but there seems to be a marked reduction in thenumber of squad cars patrolling the streets and alleys in adjacent neighborhoods.Nowadays the term,
is associated with such a broad spectrum of bureaucratic modernization
involving “private/public partnering”
that it is difficult to preciselydefine what it is. Some critics believe that Community Policing is a brand name that has more todo with a broad variety of subjective or irrational consumer inclinations rather than with rational,objective results. Therefore the results of community policing may become too
with attitudes rather than acts, and therefore difficult to measure.Miami Beach Commissioner Ed Tobin, a former prosecutor and a recent graduate of the policeacademy who takes a keen interest in the policing of the City of Miami Beach, has consistentlyobjected to sector-patrol implementation of community policing because of budgetary andmanpower allocation concerns.
“We disbanded the drug and auto theft units and took one detective out of the detective bureau
toput uniforms on the street for the sector plan
,” he said
Crime fighting requires an overlap of various approaches. Detectives are critical. All crime seems to have a common intersection withdrugs, so a narcotics unit is essential for developing intelligence on the professional criminals.Sector plans require a significant increase in manpower. Otherwise it's a publicity stunt formerchants and residents to enjoy. Our business is to protect the public business, not theenjoyment business. In other words, we need to protect the public, not provide a plan that peopleenjoy/appreciate.
Although public perception is important, it is true that a feel-good sector plan that may pleasebusinesses and residents in the entertainment sector may not be best for all. However that maybe, t
he famed “enjoyment business” of Miami Beach, particularly its South Beach brand of
enjoyment in the South District,
gets the lion‟s share of attention: many South Beach residen