Homeland defense continues to be the priority of law enforcement agencies across the nation and with that challenge, the department's "Community-Oriented Policing" (C.O.P.) efforts are more important than ever. The C.O.P. approach is at the center of the efforts of each officer in the Paducah Police Department. The department made the transition from a small C.O.P. unit to a department-wide approach in 2001.
To initiate this process the City was divided into three geographical areas, with an assigned shift commander. Each commander is responsible for resolving problems and addressing issues in their assigned zone. Officers are tasked with meeting with residents and business owners in their zones to discuss and attempt to resolve important issues. Bi-monthly meetings are held and progress reports are given to the Chief of Police to identify areas that are problems and how they are being addressed.
This system mirrors the inverted pyramid often attributed to community policing. Officers are given the responsibility and authority to work with the community to identify and resolve problems within their zones. As a result, the major work is carried out at the street level. Management assists by providing the organizational structure and process through which problems that are identified can be resolved.
Through this and other processes, officers are using partnerships within the community to fight crime. Each officer of the Paducah Police Department has a "C.O.P. Kentucky Style" manual produced by the Regional Community Policing Institute in Richmond, Kentucky, and each new recruit receives one upon employment. It is a guidebook for the officers that helps them implement C.O.P. techniques.