“Community Policing Is Dead In San Diego, Says Ex-Cop/Novelist


In 1980, English crime novelist James McClure arrived in San Diego to profile how an American police department works. Bill Kolender, then the city’s police chief, gave McClure unrestricted access to interrogation rooms, department meetings and his cops. McClure’s 1984 book, Cop World, helped place San Diego at the forefront of progressive policing. Now, says the Voice of San Diego, Tim Smith, a crime novelist and former police officer who was featured in McClure’s book under the pseudonym “Luke Jones,” is researching how the department has changed since McClure’s book.

In an interview, Smith tells the Voice of San Diego, “I believe community policing is dead in San Diego. Now, there are some people who will tell you that community policing is so deeply ingrained in the culture and problem-oriented policing deeply ingrained in the culture. I have a tendency to feel that’s political correctness. I don’t see it that much.” Why has the department moved away from community policing? Smith says, “[It] was never fully developed in my opinion.”

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