From 1940 to 1970 as generally described,the Professional Era brought around notable developments such as establishingand expanding formal training of officers, emphasizing serious, business-likedemeanor for their officers, and rotating officers through different duties andspecialties while reducing corruption and emphasizing integrity. It brought abouta time from which noteworthy individuals, such as LAPD Chief William Parker,would help transition policing from relative corruption of the Political Eratowards more professional and dignified operations moving forward. Within 1950 to1960 in Oklahoma City, new radar units were brought about for traffic officers.Three-wheeled motorcycles were introduced. Robbery, homicide, stolen cars, forgery,juveniles, and vices were all specialties now included for all detectives to bedealt with. Within 1960-1970, canine units and criminal intelligent units wereintroduced while the newly converted Technical Investigations Unit broughtabout newer vans and more modernized equipment.
Police recruit trainingexpanded to eight weeks. TheCommunity Policing Era, generalized from 1970 to 2010, was a time that broughta different philosophy through relatively more community-orientated policing.Cooperation between the police and the general community while establishingmore meaningful relations and contact were some of the important attributes ofthis community-orientated philosophy. Those with this strategy sought to bemore proactive while exploring other ways to better enhance/protect thecommunity through community partnerships, organizational transformation, andmore integrated problem solving.
Between 1970 to 1980 in Oklahoma City, thepolice department had begun hiring community service officers. From 1990 to2000, more innovative approaches to fighting crime were encouraged by neighborhoodorientated policing along with a bicycle patrol unit. Beyond the CommunityPolicing Era, newer strategies have gained traction with the advancement oftechnology and growing interest in more comprehensive, elevated approaches. Newerapproaches call for the utilization of newer technologies, data analysis,intelligence, and other tools. In Oklahoma City, the police departmentintegrated and utilized newer technologies including DRUGFIRE, LIVESCAN, andDIMUS: an automated system for ballistics evidence, an inkless fingerprintingsystem, and a digital mugshot system and DNA lab respectively. Newer equipmentand tools have been accumulated over the years. More so beyond local OklahomaCity policing, the Oklahoma Fusion Center serves as a medium to deal with stateand federal information that helps us better analyze and forewarn threats thatmay impact the state.
Community policinghas become a divisive philosophy for both supporters and critics.Intelligence-based and mission-based policing seem to be two of the morepromising strategies moving forward. Considering how mission-based policingincorporates multiple elements from different policing methods, itscomprehensiveness by emphasizing the use of intelligence, problem-orientatedapproaches with collaborating with urban planners, long-term communityreinvestment, and a militaristic approach for a command structure seems to be themore favorable approach with significant traction moving forward. Criticalperiods of American policing have brought about significant developments andreformation. It is from these stages of police developments that haveestablished the foundational seeds that can be attributed to what we see inmodern policing today. For this discussion, the Professional Era, theCommunity-Policing Era, and newer strategies/models beyond have contributed tomodern policing as we know it today. Older than Oklahoma statehood, theOklahoma City Police Department shares similar developments as seen by othersaround parts of the country in these respective times.
Lessons from decades ofexperience have influenced how our police departments function while newerdevelopments and initiatives continue to arise with technological advancement.All of this for perhaps more efficient, proactive law enforcement and for thebetterment of the public good is worthwhile and exciting.