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National Survey of Investigations in the Community Policing Context, 1997 (ICPSR 3283) RSS

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Summary:

This survey collected descriptive information from municipal police departments and sheriffs offices across the United States to determine whether the departments had implemented community policing, how their investigative functions were organized, and the ways in which their investigative organizational structure may have been modified to accommodate a community policing approach. The research project involved a national mail survey of municipal police departments and sheriffs offices in all jurisdictions with populations of more than 50,000 and 100 or more sworn officers. The survey was mailed in the late fall of 1997. Data contain responses from 405 municipal departments and 196 sheriffs offices. Questionnaires were similar but were modified depending on whether they were sent to municipal or sheriffs agencies. Data generated by the questionnaires provide descriptive information about the agencies, including agency type, state, size of population served, number of full-time and part-time sworn and civilian personnel, number of auxiliary and rescue personnel, number of detectives, whether the sworn personnel were represented by a bargaining unit, and if the agency was accredited. Respondents reported whether community policing had been implemented and, if so, identified various features that described community policing as it was structured in their agency, including year implementation began, number of sworn personnel with assignments that included community policing activities, and if someone was specifically responsible for overseeing community policing activities or implementation. Also elicited was information about the organization of the investigative function, including number of sworn personnel assigned specifically to the investigative/detective function, the organizational structure of this function, location and assignment of investigators or the investigative function, specialization of detectives/investigators, their pay scale compared to patrol officers, their relationship with patrol officers, and their chain-of-command. Finally, respondents reported whether the investigative structure or function had been modified to accommodate a community policing approach, and if so, the year the changes were first implemented.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

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Data:

Study Description

Citation

Wycoff, Mary Ann. NATIONAL SURVEY OF INVESTIGATIONS IN THE COMMUNITY POLICING CONTEXT, 1997. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum [producer], 2001. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03283.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (96-IJ-CX-0081)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   community policing, law enforcement agencies, organizational structure, police departments, police officers, program evaluation

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1997

Unit of Observation:   Agencies.

Universe:   All municipal police departments and sheriffs offices in the United States serving jurisdictions with populations greater than 50,000 and with 100 or more sworn officers in 1997

Data Types:   survey data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Questions about the nature and structure of the investigative function constitute a central concern for administrators who are implementing community policing. The concerns are both substantive and political. Substantive questions address what the investigative function should encompass, who should perform it, and its relationship to citizens and other police personnel. Political questions pertain to redefining the roles for detectives and other personnel who may be involved in the investigative process. Additionally, literature on criminal investigations has largely consisted of studies regarding the effectiveness of investigations, with little literature exploring the relationship between community policing and investigations and issues facing police agencies as they address the role of the investigator in community policing. In considering the larger question of what the investigative function should be in a community policing context, the researchers addressed the issue that the primarily reactive investigative function supports only one element of community policing and explored what the investigative function would look like if designed to support the full range of community policing efforts. Specifically, this project considered three main questions to fill the gap in knowledge about community policing implementation: (1) How are community policing agencies in the United States structuring the investigative function? (2) How are they integrating the investigative function with other police services? and (3) How have they managed/are they managing the change process within this function?

Study Design:   This research project involved a national mail survey of municipal police departments and sheriffs offices in all jurisdictions with populations of more than 50,000 and 100 or more sworn officers. The survey was mailed in the late fall of 1997. Data contain responses from 405 municipal departments and 196 sheriffs offices. The survey collected descriptive information about whether the departments had implemented community policing, the organization of their investigative function, and the ways in which the investigative organizational structure or function may have been modified to accommodate a community policing approach. The survey was accompanied by a letter from the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). One month after the first mailing, a second copy of the questionnaire was sent to non-responding agencies, along with another letter from PERF's executive director, again requesting participation.

Sample:   Municipal police departments and sheriffs offices serving jurisdictions in the United States with populations of more than 50,000 and having 100 or more sworn officers

Data Source:

mail-back questionnaires

Description of Variables:   The questionnaires were similar but were modified depending on whether they were sent to municipal or sheriffs agencies. Data generated by the questionnaires provide descriptive information about the agencies, including agency type, state, size of population served, number of full-time and part-time sworn and civilian personnel, number of auxiliary and rescue personnel, number of detectives, whether the sworn personnel were represented by a bargaining unit, and if the agency was accredited. Respondents reported whether community policing had been implemented and, if so, identified various features that described community policing as it was structured in their agency, including year implementation began, number of sworn personnel with assignments that included community policing activities, and if someone was specifically responsible for overseeing community policing activities or implementation. Also elicited was information about the organization of the investigative function, including number of sworn personnel assigned specifically to the investigative/detective function, the organizational structure of this function, location (physically centralized or decentralized) and assignment (within specific geographic area and/or crime types) of investigators or the investigative function, specialization of detectives/investigators, their pay scale compared to patrol officers, their relationship with patrol officers, and their chain-of-command. Finally, respondents reported whether the investigative structure or function had been modified to accommodate a community policing approach, and if so, the year the changes were first implemented.

Response Rates:   The response rate for municipal departments was 83.9 percent. The response rate for sheriffs offices was 64.6 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:  

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