Transforming Community Policing by Hugh C. Russell

Chief Andrew Fletcher
November 13, 2017
By Chief Andrew Fletcher
Transforming Community Policing by Hugh C. Russell; 2017, 376 pages
ISBN: 978-1-55239-649-0

Hugh Russell’s Transforming Community Policing: Mobilization, Engagement and Collaboration (2017) is a well-informed, evidence-based text, which blows holes in the old stereotype that community policing is the soft side of the profession.

The book stands “community policing” on its head and describes what the community, with the encouragement and support of police, should be doing to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour. This is the first text that moves beyond the standard litany of warm and fuzzy community activities police add to their already over-burdened repertoire in the name of “community policing.”

Russell pulls no punches in reminding those of us in policing that we cannot arrest our way out this situation. He challenges us to re-think, restructure and retrain to make a difference. Transforming Community Policing emphasizes that police cannot do this alone; we must mobilize and support members of a community as they take on more responsibility for their own safety and well-being. Police must be seen as just one of many specialized agencies working equally and equitably with one another. As Russell says to police, “Don’t do it; but do things that get it done!”

Almost every chapter highlights the one factor that underpins transformative community policing: relationships. Relying on the latest and best research in “police legitimacy,” plus practical experience with street checks and other police-public interactions, Russell asserts that police cannot stimulate community action if their relationships with the community are not positive and strong. Therein lies a challenge for the future of policing.

This is an excellent teaching book. It should be the cornerstone for all justice and police foundations programs and the bible for active police officers.  

- Chief Andrew Fletcher, South Simcoe Police Service; Chair, Ontario Working Group on Collaborative, Risk-Driven Community Safety; Vice-president, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police

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