Community policing is often misunderstood as a program or set of programs such as D.A.R.E.®, foot patrols, bike patrols, or police substations. Although each may be incorporated as part of a broader strategic community policing plan, these programs are not community policing. Rather, community policing is an overarching philosophy that informs all aspects of police business.
Community policing emphasizes changes in organizational structures to institutionalize its adoption. Agencies should be aligned to support partnerships and proactive problem solving in areas such as training, hiring, reward and authority structures, technology, and deployment. Community policing recognizes that police can rarely solve public safety problems alone and encourages interactive partnerships with relevant stakeholders. The range of potential partners includes other government agencies, businesses, nonprofits, individual community members, and the media. These partnerships should be used to accomplish the two interrelated goals of developing solutions through collaborative problem solving and improving public trust.