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NCJ Number: 43449 Find in a Library
Title: INSIGHTS FROM A POLICE INVESTIGATION STUDY - A POTENTIAL ADVERSARY ROLE FOR THE POLICE
Author(s): P W GREENWOOD
Corporate Author: Rand Corporation
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Rand Corporation
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
Publication Number: P-5722
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE STUDY EXAMINES THE AMOUNT OF EFFORT DEVOTED BY POLICE TO INVESTIGATE REPORTED CRIMES, HOW THIS EFFORT IS ORGANIZED, AND WHAT IS ACCOMPLISHED.
Abstract: A NATIONAL SURVEY OF ALL DEPARTMENTS EXCEEDING 150 EMPLOYEES OR SERVING POPULATIONS OVER 100,000 WAS CONDUCTED TO DETERMINE PATTERNS OF RESOURCE USE, INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURES, PERSONNEL POLICIES, AND SPECIAL PROJECTS. UNIFORM CRIME REPORT DATA ON OFFENSES, ARRESTS, AND CLEARANCES WERE OBTAINED AND COMBINED WITH THE SURVEY RESPONSES TO PROVIDE GROSS PERFORMANCE COMPARISONS AMONG DEPARTMENTS. MORE THAN 25 DEPARTMENTS WHICH WERE IDENTIFIED AS BEING PROGRESSIVE IN THEIR APPROACH TO INVESTIGATIVE MANAGEMENT WERE VISITED BY THE RESEARCH STAFF FOR OBSERVATIONS AND INTERVIEWS OF INVESTIGATION PERSONNEL. IT WAS DEMONSTRATED THAT INVESTIGATION EFFORTS HAVE ONLY A MARGINAL EFFECT ON THE RATE AT WHICH ARRESTS ARE MADE. THE PRIMARY FINDING WAS THAT CRIMES ARE SOLVED BY PATROLMEN WHO RESPOND TO THE SCENE OR INTERVIEW WITNESSES, AND NOT BY THE SIFTING OF EVIDENCE OR DEDUCTION. THE DETECTIVES' ROLE CONSISTS MAINLY OF PROCESSING THE PAPERWORK AND BRINGING ALL OF THE NECESSARY PIECES OF INFORMATION TOGETHER FOR PROSECUTORIAL PURPOSES. OTHER FINDINGS SUGGESTED THAT INVESTIGATORS SPEND MORE TIME ON CLEARED CASES AFTER ARREST THAN BEFORE; FINGERPRINTS STILL ACCOUNT ONLY FOR ABOUT ONE PERCENT OF ALL CASE CLEARANCES DUE TO LACK OF PROCESSING CAPABILITIES; AND, FOR PROACTIVE STRIKE TEAMS WHICH WORK UNDERCOVER, THE ARREST PRODUCTIVITY WAS OFTEN 'INFLATED' WITH EASY ARRESTS PASSED ON FROM OTHER UNITS. PRINCIPAL REFORMS SUGGESTED TO IMPROVE POLICE EFFECTIVENESS INCLUDED: MORE SELECTIVE SCREENING OF CASES FOR INVESTIGATION FOLLOWUP AND EARLY CLOSURE FOR THOSE WHERE SOLUTION APPEARS UNLIKELY; ASSIGNMENT OF MORE INVESTIGATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO PATROL COMMANDERS; AND INCREASED CAPACITY TO CONDUCT LATENT FINGERPRINT SEARCHES. THE REPORT DISCUSSES A CRITIQUE OF THE FINDINGS WHICH IT CONSIDERS TYPICAL OF THE REACTION THAT MANY STUDIES OF POLICE PERFORMANCE HAVE RECEIVED. THE OBSERVATION THAT MANY DETECTIVES AND THE POLICE IN GENERAL TAKE LITTLE INTEREST IN A CASE AFTER IT HAS BEEN FILED BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS DISCUSSED IN MORE DETAIL. SOME OF THE ISSUES RAISED BY NEGATIVE REACTIONS TO THIS FINDING ARE EXAMINED, AND CONSTRUCTIVE WAYS OF DEALING WITH THEM ARE PROPOSED. IT IS NOTED THAT IF A POLICE CHIEF BELIEVES THAT THE PROSECUTOR OR THE JUDGES ARE NOT BEHAVING IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR WITHIN THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW. HE CAN ADOPT THE NATURAL ADVERSARY POSITION WHICH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM PROVIDES BY CONFRONTING THEM PUBLICLY, BASED ON A SYSTEMATIC EXAMINATION OF HOW THE SYSTEM IS FUNCTIONING.
Index Term(s): Criminal investigation; Investigative powers; Police court relations; Police effectiveness; Police responsibilities
Note: PREPARED FOR PRESENTATION AT THE 1976 ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=43449

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