Community Focused Policing Programs Can Prevent And Reduce The Spread Of Capiophobia
What Is Community-Focused Policing?
Community policing is a common law enforcement strategy concept and application in Europe. Although the type of community policing strategies may differ from one Country to another, the general focus is relatively similar. Approaching the task of policing from a problem-oriented guide instead of relying solely on occurred incidents is achieved by motivating and engaging with the civilian and business community to facilitate an open pathway for communication between private citizens and law enforcement.
According to the DOJ, “Community policing emphasizes proactive problem-solving in a systematic and routine fashion. Rather than responding to crime only after it occurs, community policing encourages agencies to proactively develop solutions to the immediate underlying conditions contributing to public safety problems” (COPS, 2014).
In the case of our nation’s capiophobia crisis, the best way to break through the community’s fear of the police is by applying a community-focused policing strategy to repair and restore the damaged relationship and communication barriers currently affecting a great deal of Americans and students of all ages. A European law enforcement professional named Freddy Weerdmeester shares his perspective of community policing through his personal experiences as a trainee and law enforcement professional:
“As a young officer, I first came into contact with community policing when a community police officer explained how he approached certain visible problem areas in his district. His main starting point was to initiate cooperation between citizens, organizations, and local government, including sharing responsibilities and to motivate involvement. His vision was to cope with security issues from a problem-oriented approach and not only to focus on incident-oriented policing.” (Bayerl, Karlović, Akhgar, & Markarian, 2017).
What Is Capiophobia?
Capiophobia is the fear of the police. This phobia can be so pronounced that the mere sight of a police officer can induce symptoms of anxiety and panic for some. In this case, the fear is so intense that it disrupts your everyday life. You might think that if you have not committed a serious crime, you should not fear the police. That is not true. Even if you have no reason to fear the police, you can still feel a lot of anxiety if you see them.
For example, if you are driving and you see a police car behind you, you might feel nervous even though you have done nothing wrong. All phobias are irrational fears, but they do not discriminate between people who do and do not have something to be afraid of.
No two phobias are the same, and neither are the people who have them. Some people are afraid of bees, others are afraid of heights, and others are afraid of public speaking. Doctors can treat a variety of phobias. However, most people choose to learn how to manage their fear instead. Find out more about capiophobia here and how to overcome the fear of the police.
What An Ideal Community Focused Policing Program Looks Like In Public Schools
Just twenty minutes outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, a nonprofit organization called “Shop With A Cop” is positively impacting Blount County. The organization started in 1989 by reaching out to just one student at Christmas, eventually becoming a respectable local charitable organization in 2016. Local police officers pooled their money to sponsor children’s participation in Shop With A Cop during the organization’s first years of service. Since inception, the organization has expanded to serve 75-100 kids a year and has impacted over 10,000 children.
Shop With A Cop’s mission aims to “foster mutual respect between law enforcement and our community by striving to strategically invest in at-risk and under-served youth through thoughtful interaction, education, and opportunity building” (Shop With A Cop, 2022).
This year’s shopping budget is about $200 a year per child, involving children or students in need from Blount County. Typically, during Christmas time, each child participating in the annual Christmas shopping event is given a $200 gift card at Walmart, where the child shops with a cop.
The organization provides a positive image by humanizing the person behind the badge, thus allowing children to view police officers as kind, compassionate, and caring. Shop With A Cop demonstrates an excellent example of community focused policing by engaging with children in their Community in several ways.
- An annual Christmas shopping event.
- They offer support after high-trauma situations.
- They offer companionship and assistance during medical appointments.
- They maintain an open-door policy with children in their offices and facilities.
Local Blount County law enforcement agencies support the Shop With A Cop program. The program identifies eligible candidates through the local school resource officers who recommends a student to Shop With A Cop. Another way Shop With A Cop also identifies qualified candidates is through word-of-mouth recommendations from officers who find a child in need. The organization has received funding through community fundraisers and donations. Shop With A Cop currently serves a small community in Tennessee but reflects a beacon of light in a world where many communities have closed their hearts towards police officers due to the capiophobia crisis.
Other communities across the United States are starting similar programs, like Shop With A Cop or other community-focused police programs involving schools, teachers and students. The video above highlights several Bay Area programs involving law enforcement agents from various agencies and local communities engaging with students and having a great time.
How Can Community-Focused Policing Programs Reduce the Spread of Capiophobia?
The more police officers engage with the community, the better they can identify problems before problematic incidents occur. Additionally, the increased engagement of police officers with the community can break down negative misconceptions of police officers, which may have been adopted by environmental or upbringing responses.
Communities can reduce the spread of capiophobia by following the example of Shop With A Cop’s nonprofit organization. Another way communities can implement a community-focused policing program in public schools is by finding ways to reduce the capiophobia crisis amongst students. Schools can address capiophobia prevention and awareness by finding creative ways where local police officers can engage with students during school hours.
Simple ways police officers can decrease capiophobia with students is through paid or volunteer engagement with students by:
- Assisting teachers with a lesson.
- Reading a story to elementary students.
- Helping students with their lessons.
- Sharing capiophobia education and awareness with students and faculty.
- Joining an exercise or sports game during gym class.
- Joining youth in after school sports programs.
During one of my interviews with a fourteen-year-old female middle school student named Liz from Boerne Texas, I was able to share the mission of Anonymous Crime Reporting Inc and discuss the fear of the police in the context of a phobia. Surprisingly, Liz asked if I would please come to speak with her principal because all her friends fear the police.
I asked Liz if she was afraid of the police and her response was “No.” Due to her frequent interaction with police officers, mainly due to her father’s friendships and support of the local police, there wasn’t any reason for fear of the police to manifest in this young teenager.
I discovered that Liz’s friends had not had negative personal experiences with the police, nor did they have any interaction with police officers. Capiophobia had set into the mindset of Liz’s friends due to fearmongers coming in through environmental factors (the media) and upbringing responses (friends who share the fear of the police).
Capiophobia may not seem like a big problem to many, but it truly is too big a problem to ignore. The image of law enforcement officers as figures of safety and security has been skewed through the spread of capiophobia, leading to a nearly severed desire to communicate with law enforcement by many students in America.
When the community fears the police, criminals and criminal activity gain momentum. The spread of capiophobia is paving way for organized crime to implement their criminal agendas throughout our Country boldly. Our responsibility as good citizens of our Country is to preserve justice, restore the damaged civilian-law enforcement relationship, and sever the plans of criminals and the spread of organized crime in our nation.
Suppose your local police department needs more funding to budget for a capiophobia prevention, or community focused policing program in your school district. Suppose funding for such programs becomes a challenge. In that case, you may want to reach out to your local police department and request police volunteers to implement a capiophobia awareness program and a community-focused policing program in your school, workplace or church. Other ways to raise funds may involve a fundraiser through PTO or similar means to allocate funding for hiring additional police officers in your local schools.
Report Crimes In Your School, Church, Workplace, or Neighborhood Anonymously.
You can make a difference by reporting suspicious criminal activity to your local authority. Suppose you are afraid of the police or law enforcement and don’t want to report a crime directly to your local police authority. In that case, you can report suspicious criminal activity safely using any of our domestic or international privately owned anonymous crime reporting resources below.
Reporting anonymous crimes often leads to a more honest report of the crime from people living with capiophobia because they are not interacting directly with law enforcement, the trigger of the phobia itself.
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), 2014. “U.S. Department of Justice Community Policing Defined.” https://cops.usdoj.gov/RIC/Publications/cops-p157-pub.pdf
Bayerl, Karlović, R., Akhgar, B., & Markarian, G. (2017). Community policing – a European perspective strategies, best practices and guidelines (Bayerl, R. Karlović, B. Akhgar, & G. Markarian, Eds.). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-53396-4
Shop With A Cop, 2022. https://www.supportshopwithacop.com
Quality Giving Management, 2022. https://www.qualitygiving-management.com/about
Family Giving Tree, 2022. https://familygivingtree.org/about/our-team
Shop With a Cop Silicon Valley Foundation, 2022. https://www.shopwithacopsv.org
San Jose California Police Department., 2022.
Our Capiophobia Awareness And Prevention Program was originally posted on 11/13/2022 on this page, modified and moved here on 11/22/2022. Last modified 11/26/2022. Content contribution for this page provided by Mihaela Dorca on 11/13/2022. Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved