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COPS Office Resources Emphasize Community Partnerships


The Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS) is responsible for promoting community policing with the nation’s local, state and tribal law enforcement agencies. Community policing is a strategy that seeks to proactively prevent crime by establishing strategic partnerships with community stakeholders and addressing factors that contribute to crime.  The goal of community policing is to develop an acute understanding of criminal activity and trends; to establish partnerships that contribute to the understanding and prevention of crime; and, to structure police operations to best support those two objectives.  Crime-fighting technology systems, problem-solving practices, and high-levels of mutual trust and respect between police and community are critical aspects of effective community policing.

The COPS Office promotes community policing by providing information and grant assistance to law enforcement agencies. Since 1994, the COPS Office has invested more than $13.6 billion to add community policing officers to the nation's streets, enhance crime fighting technology, support crime prevention initiatives, and provide training and technical assistance to help advance community policing. To learn more about current COPS funding opportunities, click here.


The COPS Office has produced a variety of resources that may be useful to NAMI members and our criminal justice partners. All resources are available for immediate download, or you can request free hard copies. A directory of resources, with ordering information, is available on the COPS website.  Here are a few highlights of available resources:

"Community Partnerships"

An interactive CD that includes resources on community-oriented policing includes:

  • An introduction to community-oriented policing,
  • Information on sources of grant funding,
  • Case studies of the best practices in community-oriented policing,
  • A toolkit for building and sustaining community partnership for community policing initiatives,  
  • And much more!

Copies of the Community Partnerships CD can be ordered online.

"Vital Partners"

This joint publication of the National League of Cities and the Institute for Youth, Education and Families, was supported by the COPS office and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). This guide provides case studies of collaborations between municipal leaders – mayors and police chiefs – and community members to improve the health and safety of children. The guide emphasizes the importance of leadership from local officials, paired with engagement with young people and their families, to implementing pro-active public safety strategies. While not specifically focused on the needs of children and youth with mental illnesses, the guide does offer examples of strategies that community leaders can use to create partnerships in order to better meet the needs of children. The programs highlighted in the guide do not take a one-size-fits-all approach; rather, they are tailored to the needs of each community.

Copies of Vital Partners can be ordered online.

"Combat Deployment and the Returning Police Officer"

This guide, published in 2008, addresses the needs of police officers who have served in active military duty and are returning to their communities. It includes a description of the psychological effects of combat, and the types of interventions and treatments that can be helpful to them. It also provides several examples of responses that law enforcement agencies offer in regards to the needs of their officers – including assistance to families while the officer is deployed. The guide details a variety of services and requirements that agencies can have for an officer’s return to the police agency, such as a psychological screening, retraining, debriefing, and assistance in applying for benefits.

Copies of Combat Deployment and the Returning Police Officer can be ordered online.

"Problem-Oriented Guides for Police: People with Mental Illness"

This resource is part of a series on problem-oriented policing, and addresses the variety of concerns that mental illness creates from a law enforcement perspective. The guide explains some of the common reasons law enforcement encounter people with mental illness, and why these encounters have increased in recent decades. It also discusses some of the strategies (both effective and ineffective) that have been used to respond to these issues. 

Copies of Problem-Oriented Guides for Police: People with Mental Illness can be ordered online.