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Role of the COPS Office in Community Policing

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: 2003 Pages: 64-87
John L. Worrall; Jihong Zhao
Date Published
24 pages
This article explores the relationships between community policing and grants provided by the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office).
Several data sources were used to examine the role of the United States Justice Department’s COPS Office in community policing. These sources include a survey of 700 law enforcement agencies, the United States Census, and a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the COPS Office. The research questions were whether COPS grants were associated with community policing; whether the incidence of COPS grants were associated with community policing; and whether there were specific types of COPS grants that were more likely to be associated with community policing than others. The hypothesis was that more money was related to more community policing. It was concluded that, even after controlling for a number of variables commonly associated with community policing, those police organizations most actively involved in community-policing were also the most likely to report having received funding for it. The findings suggest that hiring grants are associated with community policing better than other grants. COPS funding will not be indefinite. The question is what will happen to community policing when Federal funding stops. Practitioners, policymakers, and academics should recognize the role funding plays in law enforcement developments and the importance of resource dependency theory. It is not always the case that organizations pursue community policing because of pressures or contingencies emanating from the environment. There appears to be a degree of self-interest. It is important to realize the role that external funding plays in the process of organizational development. The eventual reduction in funding for community policing is a contingency for which law enforcement officials need to be prepared. 3 tables, 3 notes, 63 references, appendix