To date, little is known about the extent to which police departments around the country have adopted community policing practices, the methods they are using to address the threat of violent extremism, and what they consider to be best practices in the field. It is necessary to determine what these law enforcement agencies are doing to counter violent extremism before it is possible to measure the impact of policing strategies on domestic radicalization to violence.
This project will address the current gap in knowledge by using a nationwide survey, in-depth interviews, and focus groups to better understand the extent to which law enforcement agencies are using community policing to combat violent extremism. The project will identify practices for dealing with both al-Qa'ida inspired extremism and other forms of extremist violence. The project will consist of four parts: 1) a nationwide survey of law enforcement agencies to identify the practices they have adopted for countering violent extremism; 2) in-depth, semistructured interviews with law enforcement officials from areas with diverse threats and approaches to dealing with those threats; 3) site interviews in select communities of law enforcement agencies that use community policing for CVE, and 4) focus groups of community members from the same selected communities.
The combination of these research methodologies will produce a wealth of information to both inform policing practices and support future research efforts. Survey results will identify the extent to which law enforcement agencies have adopted community policing methods to deal with violent extremism as recommended in the national strategy. In agencies that have not adopted this approach, the survey will indicate what alternative policing strategies are being used and the reasons why community policing has not been fully embraced. The in-depth interviews and focus groups will provide important information on the specific policing practices that both the law enforcement and community believe are effective as well as any barriers that may prevent the development cooperative relationships between the police and the community. Separate focus groups of both police and community members from the same area will enable the project to make comparisons between what law enforcement agencies are doing and how these efforts are perceived by the community.ca/ncf