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Evaluation of the Differential Police Response Field Test

NCJ Number
J T McEwen; E F Connors; M I Cohen
Date Published
22 pages
This document summarizes the National Institute of Justice's Differential Police Response (DPR) Field Test, including test objectives, planning and implementation processes, evaluation approach and results, and major conclusions.
The DPR Field Test Program was designed in 1980 and subsequently implemented in the police departments of Garden Grove, Calif.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Toledo, Ohio, under experimental conditions. DPR test objectives were to increase management efficiency for service calls while maintaining or improving citizen satisfaction with police responses to service calls. Evaluation objectives were to assess the (1) impact of the DPR system on police practices, (2) the impact of the system on citizens, and (3) the program's transferability. One evaluation focused on the planning phase, which involved the development of new call-classification systems; and a second evaluation focused on the implementation of response alternatives. Over 11,930 citizens were surveyed at the 3 sites to determine their satisfaction with the DPR systems. Some key findings are that departments can significantly reduce the number of nonemergency service calls handled by immediate mobile dispatch without sacrificing citizen satisfaction. The DPR model can be adapted to departmental needs in a wide range of environments. The summary discusses future implications for police planners who wish to introduce a comprehensive DPR system or improve the effectiveness of existing alternative responses.