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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93971 Find in a Library
Title: Comparing Citizen and Observer Perceptions of Police-Citizen Encounters (From Understanding Police Agency Performance, P 121-135, 1984, Gordon P Whitaker, ed. - See NCJ-93967)
Author(s): R B Parks
Date Published: 1984
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
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Sale Source: Superintendent of Documents, GPO
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Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To test some of the implicit assumptions underlying the use of citizen surveys to measure police performance, the data presented compare perceptions of trained observers with citizen perceptions of the same events.
Abstract: The use of citizen surveys to measure police performance is predicated on the implicit assumptions that citizens can and do perceive accurately characteristics of the services they recive and that they can remember these characteristics and recall them for an interviewer when questioned at a later time. This study empirically tests these assumptions through an analysis of data obtained from patrol observation and citizen debriefing data from 690 police-citizen encounters. Trained observers recorded specific information on the encounters and then interviewed citizens to obtain information in the same areas. Information covered perceptions of problem type, perceptions of police response time, and perceptions of officer actions. Raw comparisons of citizen and observer reports indicate a relatively high level of agreement, though a level which varied according to the particular aspect of the encounter examined. A charitable view that one-third of the observation discrepancies were attributable to the observer and two-thirds to citizens, would allow the conclusion that citizen reports were accurate in 80 percent or more of the encounters. Tabular data, footnotes, and l8 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Data collections; Police-citizen interactions; Surveys; Testing and measurement
Note: Available on microfiche as NCJ-93967.
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