The Limits of Community Policing

Civilian Power and Police Accountability in Black and Brown Los Angeles

320 pages

15 black and white illustrations

July, 2019

ISBN: 9781479842254



Add to Cart Available: 6/21/2019

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Luis Daniel Gascón is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of San Francisco. 

All books by Luis Daniel Gascón

Aaron Roussell is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Portland State University. 

All books by Aaron Roussell

A critical look at the realities of community policing in South Los Angeles
The Limits of Community Policing addresses conflicts between police and communities. Luis Daniel Gascón and Aaron Roussell depart from traditional conceptions, arguing that community policing—popularized for decades as a racial panacea—is not the solution it seems to be.
Tracing this policy back to its origins, they focus on the Los Angeles Police Department, which first introduced community policing after the high-profile Rodney King riots. Drawing on over sixty interviews with officers, residents, and stakeholders in South LA’s “Lakeside” precinct, they show how police tactics amplified—rather than resolved—racial tensions, complicating partnership efforts, crime response and prevention, and accountability. 
Gascón and Roussell shine a new light on the residents of this neighborhood to address the enduring—and frequently explosive—conflicts between police and communities. At a time when these issues have taken center stage, this volume offers a critical understanding of how community policing really works.


  • "The persuasive evidence in The Limits of Community Policing raises very serious questions about the basic procedures for engaging the community in community policing programs and other police programs with a similar purpose. Based on five years of observational research on community meetings in Los Angeles, the authors persuasively document how police officials control the procedures and the outcomes of neighborhood meetings. In addition to controlling agendas, officials respond to the expressed concerns of meeting participants by accepting some, deflecting others away from police responsibility, or resisting them altogether. The most urgent community concerns about policing, in short, are never fully addressed. This is an extremely important book for scholars, police officials and policy-makers."

    —Samuel Walker, co-author of The New World of Police Accountability, Third Edition