U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Police Officers on Two-officer Units: A Study of Attitudinal Responses Towards a Patrol Experiment

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: 2003 Pages: 144-161
Alejandro del Carmen; Lori Guevara
Date Published
18 pages
This article discusses police officer perceptions regarding performance, applicability, effectiveness, and safety issues when assigned to two-officer units, compared with a one-officer unit, for patrol operations in an urban setting.
This study was conducted using a sample of police officers currently working at a North Texas police department and followed a pre-test/post-test control group quasi-experimental design. Surveys were distributed in 2 different instances to a sample of 50 police officers, randomly selected from a population of 100 officers. Results show that, for the set of questions pertaining to perceptions of applicability and performance, officers generally agreed that they would perform the same regardless of whether they were in a one- or two-officer patrol car. Officers agreed that two-officer units should be used during the evening or midnight shift as well as in areas of the city where people mistrust the police. With regard to perceptions of perceived effectiveness, most officers agreed that two-officer units could observe more than a single officer and would respond more quickly to calls for service. Most officers disagreed that two one-officer cars can accomplish twice as much as one two-officer car and that officers are more likely to be injured in two-officer cars than in one-officer cars. With regard to perceptions of benefits of two-officer cars, officers agreed on all items that two-officer units provide greater visibility, help deter crime and disorder, increase police visibility, and provide an opportunity for new officers to learn from experienced officers. For the set of questions pertaining to general concerns and safety-related items, officers disagreed that they worry about the availability of back-up if working in a one-officer unit and that two-officer units distract from giving full attention to the job. Most officers agreed that, as long as officers are well trained, one-officer cars are as safe as two-officer cars. 9 tables, 20 references