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One-or-Two-Officer Cars? A Perspective From Kansas City

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: (1985) Pages: 49-64
D A Kessler
Date Published
16 pages
The relationship of police patrol-car staffing to response time is examined.
The first systematic study of police patrol-car staffing, conducted in San Diego in 1977, found that two one-officer cars responded to the scene of an incident faster than one two-officer car. Given the study design, this finding was puzzling. When two one-officer cars are dispatched, at least one of the cars has farther to go, and the extra travel distance should require extra travel time. The present study replicated the previous empirical analysis with data from the Kansas City Response Time Analysis Study. Although it was expected that additional control variables would provide an explanation for the findings, the results were the same. Two one-officer cars are faster than one two-officer car. One explanation for this finding is that peer pressure among officers provides different incentives from rapid response in one- and two-officer cars. The policy implication is that the deployment of two-officer cars cannot be justified by minimized response time. (Author abstract)


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