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Communication of Innovation in Policing in the United States, 1996 (ICPSR 2480) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

These data were collected to examine the patterns of communication among police planners in the United States. The focus was on information-sharing, in which police planners and others contact other law enforcement agencies directly to gather the information they need to manage their departments. This study examined this informal network and its role in the dissemination of police research. The Police Communication Network Survey was mailed to the chief executives of 517 local departments and all 49 state police and highway patrol organizations in March 1996. The chief was asked to forward the questionnaire to the commander of the department's planning and research unit. Questions covered the agency most frequently contacted, how frequently this agency was contacted, mode of communication used most often, why this agency was contacted, and the agency most likely contacted on topics such as domestic violence, deadly force, gangs, community policing, problem-oriented policing, drug enforcement strategies, civil liability, labor relations, personnel administration, accreditation, and police traffic services. Information was also elicited on the number of times different law enforcement agencies contacted the respondent's agency in the past year, the percentage of time devoted to responding to requests for information from other agencies, and the amount of training the respondent and the staff received on the logic of social research, research design, statistics, operations research, cost-benefit analysis, evaluation research, and computing. Demographic variables include respondent's agency name, position, rank, number of years of police experience, number of years in the planning and research unit, and highest degree attained.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Dataset - Download All Files (1,234 KB)

Study Description

Citation

Weiss, Alexander. COMMUNICATION OF INNOVATION IN POLICING IN THE UNITED STATES, 1996. ICPSR version. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University [producer], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. doi:10.3886/ICPSR02480.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-IJ-CX-0052)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   communication, law enforcement agencies, management, police departments, police response

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1996

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996

Unit of Observation:   Organizations

Universe:   All police departments in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The codebook, user guide, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. 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 through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The American police system is among the most decentralized and fragmented in existence. There are thousands of federal, state, and local agencies, ranging in size from a one-officer rural department to incredibly complex organizations in large cities. All of these departments require information relative to changes in policy, law, and practice. In order to meet these demands, two systems have developed. The first system is formal. It centers on the distribution of information by federal government agencies such as the National Institute of Justice and by professional organizations such as the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the Police Foundation, and the International Association of Law Enforcement Planners. This system provides enormous amounts of research to a vast array of clients. There is, however, another system engaged in these dissemination efforts. It is an informal system of information-sharing in which police planners and others contact other law enforcement agencies directly to gather the information they need to manage their departments. This study examined several aspects of this informal network and its role in the dissemination of police research, specifically: (1) What agencies are planners most likely to contact when they look for information? (2) How frequent are these contacts? (3) What are the modes of communication? (4) What factors influence the choice of a contact? (5) What are the resource requirements associated with these requests? (6) Are requests information-specific? (7) How well are police planning and research units prepared to conduct research?

Study Design:   To examine how the system of information-sharing among police organizations works, this research collected data using a national survey of police planning and research commanders. In March 1996, the Police Communication Network Survey was mailed to the chief executives of 517 full-service local police organizations with 100 or more sworn officers and all 49 state police and highway patrol organizations in the United States. The chief was asked to forward the questionnaire to the commander of the department's planning and research unit. By June 1996, 360 local organizations, 43 state organizations, and 13 sheriff departments had responded.

Sample:   All full-service local police organizations with 100 or more sworn officers and all 49 state police and highway patrol organizations in the United States.

Data Source:

self-enumerated mailed questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Variables include agency most frequently contacted, how frequently this agency was contacted, the mode of communication used most often, why the respondent contacted this agency, and the agency most likely contacted on topics such as domestic violence, deadly force, gangs, community policing, problem-oriented policing, drug enforcement strategy, civil liability, labor relations, personnel administration, accreditation, and police traffic services. Additional items cover the number of times different law enforcement agencies contacted the respondent's agency in the past year, the percentage of time devoted to responding to requests for information from other agencies, and the amount of training the respondent and the staff received on the logic of social research, research design, statistics, operations research, cost-benefit analysis, evaluation research, and computing. Demographic variables include respondent's agency name, position, rank, number of years of police experience, number of years in the planning and research unit, and highest degree attained.

Response Rates:   Based on the subsamples, 360 local organizations (70 percent) and 43 state organizations and 13 sheriff departments (88 percent) responded. The overall response rate was 71 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

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:

  • 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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