Community Policing


The City of Burlington Police Department has developed a community-oriented policing service that uses a cooperative approach to meeting the safety needs of the community we serve. Our goal is to be more familiar with, and establish the trust of our community, while providing more efficient and effective services.

Definition of Community Policing

  • Community policing is a philosophy that guides police management style and operational strategies. It emphasizes the establishment of police/community partnerships and a problem-solving approach that is responsive to the needs of the community.
  • One of the major objectives of community policing efforts is to establish an active partnership between the police and the community that can analyze problems and design and help implement solutions and services that are truly community-based. This requires the police to make a conscious effort to create an atmosphere in which community partners actively and willingly co-operate with the police.

Characteristics of Community Policing

  •  Community policing is service oriented.
  • Community policing is a partnership with the objective to determine community needs and policing priorities, and to promote police accountability and effectiveness. Community policing should include the participation of all stakeholders. 
  • Community policing is effective at problem solving. Actual and potential causes of crime and conflict can be jointly identified and analyzed with the results guiding development of measures that address the problems. Problem solving also involves conflict resolution and other creative methods to address service delivery and police-community relations problems.
  • Community policing is an agent of empowerment, creating a sense of joint responsibility and a joint capacity for addressing issues of concern to both the community and police personnel. 

Principles of Community Policing

Community policing principles inform, guide, and sustain all policing activities.

Community policing:

  • Respects and protects human rights
  • Appreciates, respects, and accommodates the languages, cultures, and values of our diverse community
  • Creates understanding and trust between the police, the community, and other constituencies
  • Shares responsibility and decision making
  • Solves problems in consultation with the community, and consistently strives to improve responsiveness, and to identify and prioritized community needs
  • Educates police personnel and members of the community to enable constructive participation in addressing the problems of safety and security
  • Resolves conflict between and within community groups in a manner that enhances peace and stability
  • Enhances accountability of the police to the communities they serve.
  • Sustains commitment from both the police and the community to safety and security.

Strategies for Community Policing

Bike Patrol  
Downtown walking patrol.

Utilization of part-time officers at City Park.

Continued use of the bicycle patrol program, to patrol in neighborhoods and the central business district. It also serves as another means of police visibility on campus.

All patrol officers are assigned to Districts that address neighborhood quality of life issues or specific complaints in a zone. Patrol sergeants oversee the Zone Teams, assign complaints and monitor progress of each complaint. Citizens that have specific neighborhood issues can contact the police department at 229-3500 or the Burlington Connected Tip Line at 222-5024.  
Citizens that wish to see firsthand what patrol officers encounter and understand the broad scope of police work may apply (register in advance) to participate in our Ride-Along Program