A Convention Out of the Blue: Implementing Community Policing over the Long Term


Community policing became popular in Canada in the 1990s. This longitudinal case study explores its implementation in a Quebec police force. It sheds light on challenges involved in implementing and sustaining reforms in public organizations. Looked at through the lens of convention theory, implementation is seen to produce a community policing convention which paradoxically contributes to its marginalization, and to ambiguity around the community policing philosophy and practices. This led to persistent misunderstanding of the model and mixed interest among police officers. These findings are relevant to public organization managers in multiple sectors interested in implementing reforms.

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    In French, this association is known as Réseau Intersection.


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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 430–2014-01103.

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Correspondence to Stéphanie Gagnon or Maud Micheau.

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Dumas, P., Gagnon, S. & Micheau, M. A Convention Out of the Blue: Implementing Community Policing over the Long Term. Public Organiz Rev (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11115-020-00505-1

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  • Community policing
  • Convention
  • Implementation
  • Reform