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Responding to the Problem Police Officer: A National Study of Early Warning Systems, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2000
268 pages
This study investigated early warning (EW) systems in three police departments--Miami, Minneapolis, and New Orleans--to assess the programmatic nature of each EW system and the impact of EW intervention on police officer performance.
The study defined an EW system as a data-based police management tool designed to identify police officers who exhibit problem behavior, as indicated by high rates of citizen complaints and use of force incidents and by other evidence. To explore EW systems in the three police departments, qualitative data were collected on the nature of EW systems through a review of official documents and interviews with key stakeholders. Backgrounds and performance records of EW and non-EW police officers were analyzed to determine whether there were significant differences between the two groups. Results showed that EW systems in the three police departments varied considerably in terms of their formal program elements. EW intervention had a positive impact in terms of reducing problem police officer behavior. Implications of the findings for EW systems and the larger issue of police accountability are discussed. Data collection instruments used in the study are appended. Endnotes, tables, and figures

Date Published: August 1, 2000