Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
Most everywhere, cops are getting into the customer service business. For years, police officers, hampered by an authoritarian, top-down management system, have been discouraged from trying anything remotely creative. No wonder they've devolved into an angry, alienated subculture, seemingly holding off the tide of anarchy but unable to do a thing about it. But recently, a new school of thought has swept The Blue: give cops the skills to analyze underlying causes and the autonomy to figure out the best solutions--in concert with citizens. There are still, however, departments that do little or nothing, or that tried but failed due to a lack of long-term commitment at the top. A roundup of the best and the worst in community-oriented policing: