Community Capacity Building and Partnerships in Action

What is community capacity building and why is it important? Why should a police department concern itself with community capacity building? In the time it takes to read this article, one will walk away, perhaps, even run away, with a better understanding of the concept and how it can be implemented. Community capacity building is a relatively new term to police; however, it is not an unfamiliar concept. Community capacity building (CCB) has been tagged as a 1990s and early 21st century notion and practice.1 Some have described it as “new,” “innovative,” and “empowering.” However, over-use of the term has caused some confusion and frustration as to what it actually means. Most agree CCB entails strengthening skills, competencies, and abilities of people and communities, enabling them to overcome obstacles. In many ways, CCB resembles Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) and as such, police departments, like no other governmental entity, are in a unique position to take the lead and charge ahead. After all, the police have more than 40 years of experience with community policing initiatives.