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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70324 Find in a Library
Title: Some Factors in Community Evaluation of Police Street Performance
Journal: American Journal of Community Psychology  Volume:7  Issue:6  Dated:(1979)  Pages:583-591
Author(s): H M Carlson; M S Sutton
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study tested the possiblity of having citizens who call for police service evaluate the performance of the responding police officers.
Abstract: Two hypotheses were formulated: an innovative police department will get better citizen evaluations than a less innovative or a traditional department; police departments will not differ in citizen evaluations of service received on routine crimes against property service calls, but will differ in evaluations of crimes against persons service calls. The subjects were 23 supervisors and 96 uniformed patrol officers from 3 police departments which were selected because of similar communities, department size, and officer qualifications. An analysis of the departments' personnel selection, promotion, and decisionmaking procedures, and of their police-community programs led to their designations as innovative, traditional, and less innovative. A modified version of the Client Telephone Questionnaire (Driscoll, Meyer, & Schanie, 1973) was used to obtain citizen evaluations. Six questions were designed to assess a particular dimension of the interpersonal aspects of an intervention, and an open-ended question allowed citizens to express in their own words the quality of service received. The evaluations were obtained within 1 to 3 weeks of a service call, and were divided into those involving crimes against property and against persons. Of an anticipated sample of 260 citizens who were randomly selected, 217 responded. A variance analysis was computed and revealed significant differences in department evaluations. The innovative department received better evaluations than the other two, and citizens did not significantly differ between crimes-against-person or crimes-against-property service calls in their evaluations. Furthermore, a multiple regression analysis revealed that the more highly educated patrol officers received better ratings, while age and months served in the department did not significantly affect citizen evaluations. The results of the open-ended question showed that officers who appeared to be personally concerned about the citizens' problems received higher evaluations. Although the reasons for the innovative department's higher scores are not certain, this department was using team policing (six patrol officers and one sergeant) for separate areas of the community, and it had sent out its own citizen evaluation forms. Since 93 percent of the citizens who were contacted also responded, such evaluations are viewed as feasible and are recommended for other communities. Data are presented in tabular form, and related studies are reviewed. A reference list is included.
Index Term(s): Citizen satisfaction; Police attitudes; Police community relations; Police effectiveness; Policing innovation; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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