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Community Policing - The Line Officer's Perspective

NCJ Number
R Trojanowicz; B Pollard
Date Published
37 pages
To obtain line officers' perspectives of community policing strategies, a survey was conducted with 57 foot patrol officers with beats in Flint, Mich., in 1986.
Interviews focused on officers' duties, strengths and weaknesses of foot patrol, training, program changes, and police and citizen attitudes toward the foot patrol program. During an average week, officers spent 17.1 hours on patrol, 2.6 hours at community meetings, 6.7 hours handling complaints, 2.2 hours organizing neighborhood groups, 2.2 hours on arrests, and 7.5 hours on other duties. The greatest strength of the program was seen to be the one-to-one, personal contact between officers and citizens; lack of mobility and poor response time were cited as the major weaknesses. Of the 72 percent whose perceptions of the program had changed over time, 93 percent found the program more worthwhile than anticipated. Of officers, 72 percent had received special training. Suggestions for improving training included additional training on laws and ordinances, public speaking and organizational skills, and conflict management. Program changes (reported by 72 percent officers) over time included better organization and supervision, greater accountability, and increasing responsibilities of officers. Overall, findings indicate that officers' attitudes toward the program are positive, that it is viewed as having produced numerous positive changes, and that officers are satisfied with the program. Supplemental research data and a facsimile of the research instrument are appended.