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NCJ Number: 158101 Find in a Library
Title: Assessing Alternative Responses to Calls for Service (From Quantifying Quality in Policing, P 153-166, 1996, Larry T Hoover, ed. -- See NCJ-158093)
Author(s): D H Bracey
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Washington, DC 20036
Sale Source: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 930
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Type: Training (Aid/Material)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper discusses the goals of alternative responses to calls for police service and the criteria for measuring the effectiveness of such responses.
Abstract: The 1977 Kansas City Response Time Study showed that often the rapidity of police response to a call has no effect on the outcome of the incident that prompted the call. These findings and other factors led to attempts to respond to citizen calls in innovative and more cost-effective ways in the 1970's and early 1980's. These alternatives became known collectively as differential police response (DPR) and included delaying patrol officers' response, having civilians rather than sworn officers respond, directly referring calls to specialized police units, taking reports by telephone, asking callers to go to a police station, sending report forms to be returned by mail, and referring calls to other agencies. Evaluators of DPR have tended to respond to the underuse of alternative responses by calling for better training and reduced discretion for communications personnel. Given recent advances in computer-aided dispatch systems, it is now possible for the call-taker to serve only as an information gatherer, while the computer itself performs the priority selection and unit assignment tasks. Some concerns about DPR are the potential for undermining problem-oriented policing, the possibility of distributing police responses with a bias for or against callers' personal characteristics or location, and the possibility that a policy of not responding immediately to all calls may undermine the symbolic function of policing. The issue is not whether a department should use DPR, but rather whether the DPR system being used furthers all of a department's goals. 24 references
Main Term(s): Police differential response
Index Term(s): Computer aided dispatch; Dispatching; Police dispatch training; Police effectiveness; Police performance evaluation; Police response time
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