National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Survey of Citizens' Attitudes Toward Community-Oriented Law Enforcement in Alachua County, Florida, 1996 (ICPSR 3491) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study sought to identify the impact of the communication training program given to deputies in Alachua County, Florida, on the community's attitudes toward community law enforcement activities, particularly crime prevention and neighborhood patrols. To determine the success of the communication training for the Alachua deputies, researchers administered a survey to residents in the target neighborhood before the communication program was implemented (Part 1: Pretest Data) and again after the program had been established (Part 2: Post-Test Data). The survey instrument developed for use in this study was designed to assess neighborhood respondents' attitudes regarding (1) community law enforcement, defined as the assignment of deputies to neighborhoods on a longer term (not just patrol) basis with the goal of developing and implementing crime prevention programs, (2) the communication skills of deputies assigned to the community, and (3) the perceived importance of community law enforcement activities. For both parts, residents were asked how important it was to (1) have the same deputies assigned to their neighborhoods, (2) personally know the names of their deputies, and (3) work with the deputies on crime watch programs. Residents were asked if they agreed that the sheriff's office dealt with the neighborhood residents effectively, were good listeners, were easy to talk to, understood and were interested in what the residents had to say, were flexible, were trustworthy, were safe to deal with, and were straightforward, respectful, considerate, honest, reliable, friendly, polite, informed, smart, and helpful. Demographic variables include the gender, race, age, income, employment status, and educational level of each respondent.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Pretest Data - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS2:  Post-Test Data - Download All Files (0.9 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Scicchitano, Michael J. SURVEY OF CITIZENS' ATTITUDES TOWARD COMMUNITY-ORIENTED LAW ENFORCEMENT IN ALACHUA COUNTY, FLORIDA, 1996. ICPSR version. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, Florida Survey Research Center [producer], 2001. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03491.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)

Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (96-IJ-CX-0087)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   citizen attitudes, crime control programs, crime prevention, communication, community policing, law enforcement, perception of crime, police citizen interactions, police community relations, police performance, police relations programs, social interaction

Geographic Coverage:   United States, Florida

Time Period:  

  • 1996

Unit of Observation:   Households.

Universe:   Households in Alachua County, Florida.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instrument are provided by ICPSR as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Meeting the challenges of providing effective law enforcement in today's climate is a more complex task than ever, particularly for very small and rural law enforcement agencies. An innovative approach that has the potential to increase law enforcement presence and effectiveness is that of locally-initiated partnerships. Collaboration is a necessary component of success for many smaller local law enforcement agencies, and the benefits often extend to larger partners. Continuing and enhancing partnerships among smaller law enforcement agencies provide benefits to citizens of all jurisdictions participating in such partnership initiatives. Six sheriff's offices (Alachua County, Gilchrist County, Columbia County, Putnam County, Levy County, and Union County Sheriff's Offices) located in North Central Florida and the University of Florida were partners in a National Institute of Justice grant designed to enhance research skills among the partners as they related specifically to community law enforcement. To this end, the Florida Research Survey Center developed various training presentations/workshops for the partners, one of which was communication for law enforcement personnel. This particular training workshop was presented to deputies in the Alachua County Sheriff's Office. The workshop was designed to provide deputies with the skills they needed in order to interact effectively with community residents. The training consisted of four modules: (1) effective interpersonal communication, which provided deputies with a basic understanding of what is meant by effective interpersonal communication, (2) effective listening, the goal of which was to teach deputies the distinction between hearing and listening, (3) nonverbal communication, which dealt with how and when to make eye contact and the meaning and effective use of other nonverbal communication, and (4) conflict management, which focused on how to avoid conflict and develop long-term cooperative relationships with the community. This study sought to identify the impact of the communication training program on community attitudes toward community law enforcement activities, particularly crime prevention and neighborhood patrols.

Study Design:   To determine the success of the communication training received by the Alachua deputies, researchers administered a survey to residents in the target neighborhood before the communication program was implemented (Part 1: Pretest Data) and again after the program had been established (Part 2: Post-Test Data). The survey instrument developed for use in this study was designed to assess neighborhood respondents' attitudes regarding (1) community law enforcement, defined as the assignment of deputies to neighborhoods on a longer term (not just patrol) basis with the goal of developing and implementing crime prevention programs, (2) the communication skills of deputies assigned to the community, and (3) the perceived importance of community law enforcement activities. In creating the survey instrument, researchers drew from a variety of concepts and existing scales. The first set of concepts used related to the Communication Competence Scale (Wiemann, 1977), which assesses the ability to choose among available communication behaviors to accomplish one's own interpersonal goals during an encounter. Another set of concepts was drawn from the Feelings of Understanding/Misunderstanding Scale (Cahn and Shulman, 1984), which measures perceptions of feelings of understanding and misunderstanding when communicating with another person. The Individual Trust Scale (Wheeless and Grotz, 1977) was developed to measure certain favorable perceptions of another individual in risky situations in which the expected outcome of the interaction depends upon another individual and the outcome is not known. As such, citizen interactions with law enforcement personnel would be a good fit with measurement objectives of this particular scale. The final set of concepts for the survey was drawn from the Source of Credibility Scale (Berlo, Lemert, and Mertz, 1970), which refers to the believability of information and the dimension of credibility of perceived expertise. Other scales developed for the survey were taken from validated instruments contained in Communication Research Measures (Rubin, Palmgreen, and Sypher [eds.], 1994). These exact scale items were not directly used, but served merely as a reference for the researchers in creating their survey instrument. Once the target neighborhood was chosen, research staff went door-to-door administering the survey in person, because many of the residents in the chosen neighborhood did not have telephones.

Sample:   Convenience sampling and random sampling.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Description of Variables:   For both the pre- and the post-test surveys, residents were asked how important it was to (1) have the same deputies assigned to their neighborhoods, (2) personally know the names of their deputies, and (3) work with the deputies on crime watch programs. Residents were asked if they agreed that the sheriff's office dealt with the neighborhood residents effectively, were good listeners, were easy to talk to, understood and were interested in what the residents had to say, were flexible, were trustworthy, were safe to deal with, and were straightforward, respectful, considerate, honest, reliable, friendly, polite, informed, smart, and helpful. Demographic variables include the gender, race, age, income, employment status, and educational level of each respondent.

Response Rates:   Not available.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CQ3491.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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