To get an inside look at community policing (CP) from a street-level police officer's point of view, researchers surveyed community police officers in mid-sized agencies throughout the United States, those with 50 to 200 sworn police officers.
A total of 88 community police officers from 30 agencies participated in a 40-minute telephone interview. The 30 agencies were randomly selected from a list of 336 agencies. The survey of community police officers and sheriff's deputies explored officer opinions and experiences with CP on such topics as the perceived value of CP, training needs, beat assignments, management support, community cooperation, job satisfaction, interaction with other officers, salary, incentives, danger, and other issues. In addition, the survey examined tasks undertaken on a daily basis and problems experienced by officers. Findings showed most officers believed CP had a beneficial impact on interactions between police and citizens. Although less in agreement about positive effects of CP on crime reduction than about community interaction, almost half of officers felt CP reduced crime in their beats. Most officers responded to calls for service in their beats, were involved in community development activities, assisted Neighborhood Watch programs, conducted patrols, and worked with neighborhood youth and local business. Over half of officers said they were more committed to their jobs since CP was implemented. In mid-sized agencies, officers still spent most of their time participating in such traditional policing duties as report writing, crime investigation, responding to calls for service, and going to court. Only 30 percent estimated they performed CP tasks, as opposed to traditional policing tasks, more than 50 percent of the time. Most officers said supervisors supported CP, and some officers noted problems related to interaction with non-CP officers. In many areas, CP was not seen as a particularly dangerous job. The most commonly listed CP problem was getting the community involved. Additional information on survey methods and letters used to obtain data are provided in attachments. References, tables, and figures
Date Published: January 1, 1995