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Handling Calls for Service - Alternatives to Traditional Policing

NCJ Number
M Cohen; J T McEwen
Date Published
5 pages
This article presents the methodology and findings of the Differential Police Response (DPR) Field Test Program, which used three test sites to examine the impact of alternative responses to police service calls.
In 1981, Garden Grove, Calif.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Toledo, Ohio, were selected as DPR test sites. Representatives from the three sites met to develop a new generic call classification system, and dispatchers were trained in the new system. Each test site developed from six to eight alternative call response strategies, including immediate mobile response, delayed mobile response, a telephone report, a communications call back, referrals, walk-in, mail-in, and appointment. The evaluation compared the impact of traditional and alternative responses on patrol time, changes in arrests and reports taken, citizen satisfaction, call-takers and dispatchers, patrol officers, and resources. The use of DPR reduced the number of nonemergency calls handled by immediate mobile response and allowed the use of additional patrol time to increase field-initiated arrest reports and field interrogations. Citizens who received service were highly willing to accept DPR, and call-takers, dispatchers, and patrol officers were favorable toward the DPR system. Tabular and graphic data as well as 11 references are provided.