Problem-Oriented Policing: The SARA Model

Problem-Oriented Policing: The SARA Model, an eLearning course, provides learners with a basic awareness and understanding of the fundamental principles of a common approach used by many community policing agencies to identify and solve repeat crime and community problems. The SARA model allows agencies to scan through multiple data sources, conduct a thorough analysis of a problem through the lens of the crime triangle, formulate a response, and continuously assess the impact of the response to the problem.


Title slide from course with one female officer and one male officer facing forward.

Arizona POST Approved Course
AZPOST Approval 22-328
AZPOST does not require the standard approval form for this course; however, if you would like one, please contact AZPOST directly at [email protected].

Course Overview

Describing the four steps of the SARA model (scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) in sequence, the modules also help learners identify when to move from one phase to the next. Correctly identifying the real problem in a community is a critical step in making a lasting impact on neighborhood crime and disorder. Learners explore the importance of assessment, types of evaluations, and nontraditional measures for determining effectiveness. Finally, the course outlines considerations for implementing Problem-Oriented Policing within an agency.

Target Audience

Law enforcement, criminal justice professionals, and other community stakeholders.

Cooperative Partners

This tuition-free online training was developed by the National Center for Policing Innovation (NCPI), formerly known as the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2017-CK-WXK-001 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Learning Objectives

  • Differentiate between the terms Problem Solving and Problem-Oriented Policing
  • Identify the goal of Problem-Oriented Policing
  • Describe the four steps of the SARA model
  • Differentiate between incidents and problems
  • Describe the variety of sources from which a problem could be identified
  • Identify factors that assist with prioritizing and selecting crime problems to solve
  • Explain the importance of stakeholders in the problem-solving process
  • Explain the importance of the analysis step of the SARA model
  • Explain the importance of third parties in relation to the crime triangle
  • Identify resources to assist with solving problems
  • Explain the factors that indicate the need to move from the analysis phase to the response phase of SARA model
  • Identify the four different parts, in sequence, of the response phase of the SARA model
  • Describe the variety of factors that are considered prior to planning or implementing a response
  • Describe the importance of timetables and action plans in the response phase
  • Identify ways of debriefing during and after the implementation of a response
  • Describe the role of assessment in the context of the SARA model and the problem-solving process
  • Consider the implementation of Problem-Oriented Policing in their own agency

National Center for Policing Innovation

The National Center for Policing Innovation (NCPI), formerly known as the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, is a nonprofit organization that provides innovative community policing training, technical assistance, and program management services to law enforcement organizations and the communities they serve throughout the United States.