Engaging Communities One Step at a Time: Policing’s Tradition of Foot Patrol as an Innovative Community Engagement Strategy

Publication Date

September 2016


Brett M. Cowell and Anne L. Kringen


Originally considered a fundamental component of policing, foot patrol was later viewed as unnecessary. At times considered outdated, foot patrol was later recast as an innovative approach. Using semi-structured interviews with officers, focus groups of community members, and observational techniques, researchers examined how five different law enforcement agencies utilize foot patrol strategies to interact, engage, and build relationships with their communities. Findings suggest foot patrol facilitates relationship-building between community members and police officers and enhances the enforcement and problem-solving capability of law enforcement.

Research Design


Research Methods

Case study, Interviews, Literature review, Focus groups, Observation / Participant observation

Recommended Citation

Cowell, B.M., & Kringen, A.L. (2016). Engaging communities one step at a time: Policing’s tradition of foot patrol as an innovative community engagement strategy. National Policing Institute.