Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving

The Sonora Police Department wishes to provide the best possible services to the City of through its Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (C.O.P.P.S.) Program. C.O.P.P.S. is a department philosophy and organizational strategy, which involves a customer focus embracing the fact that the department will provide a high quality of service. Our service standard is defined by asking ourselves; "is this the way I would want my family and friends to be treated." The result is full service policing plus proactive type prevention.

As part of the Department’s Community-Oriented Policing Program, the City of Sonora has been divided into two (2) identifiable areas. Each area has been selected by and assigned to a Sergeant as his "Area of Responsibility" or "City Area". The Sergeant is directly responsible for the problem identification and problem solving within this "City Area". It is anticipated by making one supervisor responsible for each area that a higher level of service will be provided.


It is the policy of the Sonora Police Department to support and be a part of our community. To better serve the community, the Department shall operate under the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (C.O.P.P.S.) Program. Each Patrol Sergeant will be assigned a "
City Area" for which he is ultimately responsible for activities and problem solving.


  1. Community Policing: Community Policing is a philosophy, management style, and organizational strategy that promotes proactive problem solving and police community partnerships to address the causes of crime and other community issues.
  2. Community Partnership: Community Partnership is a flexible term referring to any given combination of neighborhood residents, schools, churches, businesses, community-based organization and government agencies who are working cooperatively with the police to resolve identified problems that impact or interest them.
  3. Problem-Solving: Problem Solving refers to a process of Identifying problems/priorities through coordinated community policing needs assessment; collecting and analyzing information concerning the problem in a thorough, though not necessarily complicated manner; developing or facilitating responses that are innovative and tailor-made with best potential for eliminating or reducing the problem; and finally evaluating the response to determine its effectiveness and modifying it as necessary.
  4. Area Commanders: Area Commanders are Patrol Sergeants or other designated Department personnel who are assigned a specific City Area. This City area will be the direct "Area of Responsibility" for that person.

City Area of Responsibility

  1. The Police Department’s Supervisory and Management Personnel are responsible for identifying and defining the number of "City Areas" and the responsible "Area Commanders" within the City of Sonora.
  2. The City Areas will be outlined on a city map and the City Areas identified by number such as Area #1, Area #2, etc. the city map will be posted in the Sergeants Office.
  3. The Area Commanders will then be responsible for assigning each officer to one of the City Areas who will work directly for the Area Commander to address problems in the their City Area.
  4. Area information obtained by Department personnel will be forwarded to the Area Commander who is responsible for the area in question.

Department Participation

  1. Every member of the Sonora Police Department is to be an active participant in the C.O.P.P.S. Program. Members are expected to participate and contribute their thoughts and ideas on how to better serve the community through Community Policing, Community Partnerships and Problem Solving. All members will work closely with the Police Chief and Area Commanders to ensure the best possible service to the community.
  2. All Department members who have identified or perceive a problem or possible problem in a "City Area" are to notify the responsible Area Commander as soon as possible.

Area Commander Responsibilities:

  1. Each Area Commander is assigned the important, complex task of ensuring that his/her City Area is being provided the best possible police services and is realizing the Department’s "Mission Statement". This is accomplished in a number of ways:
    1. Area Partnerships: This involves interaction with affected participants from government, neighborhoods,social,
      civic, educational and religious groups to identify, address and solve problems.
    2. Problem-Solving: This involves the identification and analysis of criminal and disruptive behavior patterns to develop methods and solutions for permanent resolution.
    3. Empowerment: For area Commanders to successfully employ problem-solving they must be given the authority to make decisions on the proper courses of action and to make commitments for the resources needed for those actions. This empowerment is essential if the Department is going to be effective in working with the community to address neighborhood problems. This authority is being placed with the Area Commanders along with their assumption of greater responsibility and accountability in their respective roles.
    4. Accountability: This is a form of mutual checks and balances placing shared responsibility for solving problems on citizens, police, governmental, civic and social agencies. This goes back to the area of community partnership. We must work together and be accountable for our portion of the task or problem.
    5. Service Orientation: This involves the concept that the "public" is the "customer" and the Department is the "service provider". Again, this directly relates back to our Mission statement.
  2. Area Commanders will review all input provided to them Regarding their "City Areas". Each Area Commander will maintain a file on their "City Area" which documents all complaints and/or information received and a summary or outline of what, if any, action was taken.
  3. Any problems or incidents that the Area Commander determines he cannot handle will be directed to the Chief of Police for review.


It is anticipated that the C.O.P.P.S. program and "City area of Responsibility" will foster greater cooperation and understanding between the Department and the citizens that we serve and protect. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that all Department members carry out our "Mission Statement" and work to make this a successful program.

Mark Stinson
Chief of Police