Oakland and Baghdad

January 18, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston
Community policing is the close cousin of counterinsurgency -- at their core, they're about providing security for the people and addressing the root causes of violence in a holistic way.
That's Philip Carter at Intel Dump a week ago noting a RAND study of community policing in Oakland. (Carter knows a lot about the military and counterinsurgency. He was an advisor to the Iraqi police in 2005-2006, deployed with the 101st Airborne.)

In both community policing and counterinsurgency (at least as Carter envisions it), the cops or troops have to get beyond the adversarial frame of mind that seems to be so natural in those settings.

The parallel between the two is useful on both sides. People interested in community policing may have much to learn from counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq. But a look at the abstract of the RAND report on community policigy suggests what a monumental and maybe impossible task we face in Iraq.
The early evidence on the implementation of the Measure Y community-policing program is not altogether positive. Deployment of problem-solving officers, which is the cornerstone of the community-policing initiative, has been delayed because of a lack of available officers, and community participation has been inadequate.
Lack of officers who know how to relate to the community, a community that’s reluctant to participate in a program that’s supposed to reduce violence in their own community. And in Oakland, the people and the police speak the same language and share certain general values.

It doesn’t make you optimistic about Baghdad, Diyala, Fallujah, or the country as a whole.

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