National Survey of Police-Media Relations, 2000 (ICPSR 3597)
Principal Investigator(s): Lovell, Jarret S., Rutgers University. School of Criminal Justice; Kelling, George L., Rutgers University. School of Criminal Justice
This study was undertaken to examine the influence police officers have in creating an image of law enforcement through media relations and public information offices/officers (PIO). A survey was mailed nationwide to police departments serving areas with populations exceeding 100,000 residents. The survey items identified the following factors: (1) the presence and nature of a formal departmental media strategy, (2) the prevalence of full-time police PIO, (3) PIO background characteristics, including educational/vocational training in media, journalism, or public relations, (4) specific goals of police media relations offices and PIOs, (5) the various methods by which these goals are achieved, and (6) the perceived quality of police-media interaction, the police image, and the public information office both before and after the adoption of the current media strategy.
These data are freely available.
Lovell, Jarret S., and George L. Kelling. NATIONAL SURVEY OF POLICE-MEDIA RELATIONS, 2000. ICPSR03597-v1. Newark, NJ: Rutgers University, School of Criminal Justice [producer], 2002. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03597.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03597.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2000-IJ-CX-0046)
Scope of Study
Smallest Geographic Unit: none
Geographic Coverage: United States
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: police departments
Universe: Municipal police departments serving areas with a population of 100,000 residents or greater.
Data Types: survey data
Study Purpose: Media power represents the extent to which interested groups command control of media messages relevant to their particular interests. This study sought to examine the influence police officers have in creating an image of law enforcement through media relations and public information offices.
Study Design: Given the limited available information regarding police media relations offices and public information offices (PIOs) in the United States, this study administered a self-report mail survey to municipal law enforcement agencies nationwide to obtain information regarding the nature and quality of police media relations. The survey was sent to departments serving areas with populations of 100,000 residents or greater, since research indicates that departments of this size are more likely to have frequent contacts with the news media. A list of departments that comprised the sampling frame was obtained from the 1999 National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators, published by the National Public Safety and Information Bureau. This directory contained over 37,000 department profiles covering 18 levels of jurisdiction (i.e., municipal, county, federal, corrections) and included such information as municipality population, number of serving officers, and the name of the acting department chief. The purpose of the survey was to gather information regarding the strategies employed by various police departments to promote and enhance their image through the media and their perceived effectiveness, as reported by police officials. Survey items identified the following factors: (1) the presence and nature of a formal departmental media strategy, (2) the prevalence of full-time police PIOs, (3) PIO background characteristics, including educational/vocational training in media, journalism, or public relations, (4) specific goals of police media relations offices and PIOs, (5) the various methods by which these goals are achieved, and (6) the perceived quality of police-media interaction, the police image, and the public information office both before and after the adoption of the current media strategy. All surveys were addressed to the highest-ranking official within the department, asking him/her to respond to the survey personally or to have the survey completed by a member of the department who could a accurately represent the views of the top police official. Each respondent was asked to provide a complete evaluation of department police-media relations and was assured complete confidentiality of all information provided. A pretest of the survey instrument that revealed questionnaire items requiring minor revision was mailed to all municipal police departments serving areas having populations between 90,000 and 99,999 residents. The final survey was mailed in the spring of 2000.
Sample: The sampling frame was comprised of police departments listed in the 1999 National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators. The survey instrument was sent to police departments nationwide serving areas with a population of 100,000 residents or greater.
Data were collected from self-enumerated mail-in surveys distributed nationally to municipal law enforcement agencies.
Description of Variables: Variables include the number of news organizations and reporters (newspapers, TV, or radio) a department communicated with during an average week, whether the department's staff ever contacted reporters to issue a press release, schedule a news conference, or provide assistance with crime coverage, whether the department had a written media policy or media strategy, whether the department's current media policy had been helpful in preparing the department for communications with the media, controlling news leaks, addressing allegations of misconduct, presenting a favorable public image, or promoting department policing strategies, who within the department had routine authorization to communicate with the media, whether these individuals ever had any formal training in media communication skills, whether the department provided training in media communication for its staff and what the format (video presentation, reading material, or guest lecturer) and content of the training were, views on the importance of promoting crime prevention education, building police/ community partnerships, building a positive police image, and informing the public of police initiatives, whether the department had a favorable or unfavorable working relationship with the media, whether the department felt that the media was biased against them, and complaints a department had regarding media coverage of its department. Other variables include population of the municipality, number of sworn officers, property and violent crime totals, and the rank of the officer filling out the survey on behalf of the department.
Response Rates: The response rate was 76 percent.
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:
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2003-10-30
- 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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