Community policing: is field training the missing link?

Allison T. Chappell (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 28 August 2007



The purpose of this paper is to determine the extent to which traditional field training incorporates community‐oriented policing and problem solving in its formal evaluation process. Can community policing be successfully integrated into the San Jose field training model as a formal component of training and evaluation of police recruits?


The paper analyzes formal field training evaluations and narratives in one police agency that uses the San Jose Field Training Officer Program. The agency endorses and practices community policing and problem solving.


Field training in this agency did not successfully integrate community policing and problem solving into the formal evaluation process.

Practical implications

Because field training occurs immediately after the academy, it is the best place to expose recruits to community policing and problem solving in practice, thus linking training with practice. If police agencies are truly committed to community policing, they must update their field training curricula to reflect the new philosophy and practice.


Though there has been considerable research in the area of community policing, little of it focuses on training, especially field training. Ironically, even though most agencies claim to practice community policing, they have failed to prepare their officers in the philosophies and skills necessary to perform the tasks well. Police academies are beginning to train recruits in community policing, but most agencies still use the San Jose FTO model, which was developed before contemporary community policing existed. Because field training is such an important part of police socialization, it must teach recruits the skills of community policing.



Chappell, A. (2007), "Community policing: is field training the missing link?", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 498-517.

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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