Links To Police Organizations

Some community antidrug efforts (most notably Black Muslim patrols in Washington, D.C., in Brooklyn, N.Y., and elsewhere) have been mounted without the involvement of the police. Such efforts are relatively rare, however. In the vast majority of programs, potential activists have found a willing ally in the police. At the time that citizens were attempting to organize against drugs, many local police departments were in the process of under going a conversion to a community-oriented approach to law enforcement, which invited citizen participation (Skogan, 1990).

Davis et al. (1991) report that the police played a critical role in the maintenance, and sometimes the formation, of community antidrug programs. Although police administrators are normally the first to state that they cannot mobilize a neighborhood against drugs, they often facilitate incipient organizations by donating space and speakers for meetings, by acting as advocates with other city agencies (sanitation, building inspection, etc.), by providing training and backup for patrols, and by bringing together leaders from different neighborhoods to cross-pollinate ideas.

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