Homeland Security in Small Law Enforcement Jurisdictions: Preparedness, Efficacy, and Proximity to Big-City Peers, 2011 (ICPSR 33941)

Published: Dec 22, 2015

Principal Investigator(s):
Joseph A. Schafer, Southern Illinois University; Matthew J. Giblin, Southern Illinois University; George W. Burruss, Southern Illinois University; Melissa R. Haynes, Southern Illinois University


Version V1

The Homeland Security in Small Law Enforcement Jurisdictions study drew upon data collected from 350 small (1-25 full time sworn officers) law enforcement agencies nationwide to address four gaps in the homeland security research literature and clarify/expand upon an empirically-derived model of homeland security preparedness and organizational efficacy.

  • Whether physical and relational proximity to large agency peers facilitates the development of homeland security preparedness and improves perceptions of organizational efficacy (the capacity of an organization to respond) in small agencies and, conversely, whether the geographic isolation of small, rural agencies inhibits homeland security efforts.
  • Whether efficacy of efforts to enhance homeland security is not just a function of perceived/actual risk or funding, but also other "institutional pressures", such as books and journal publications, as well as conferences, training, and other professional networks and channels.
  • Assessments of preparedness outcomes through "organizational efficacy", the perception about the organization's ability to accomplish its goals.
  • The lack of theoretical context, such as contingency and institutional theory frameworks, used to examine data on preparedness and organizational efficacy.

Schafer, Joseph A., Giblin, Matthew J., Burruss, George W., and Haynes, Melissa R. Homeland Security in Small Law Enforcement Jurisdictions: Preparedness, Efficacy, and Proximity to Big-City Peers, 2011. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2015-12-22. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR33941.v1

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-IJ-CX-0024)


A downloadable version of data for this study is available however, certain identifying information in the downloadable version may have been masked or edited to protect respondent privacy. Additional data not included in the downloadable version are available in a restricted version of this data collection. For more information about the differences between the downloadable data and the restricted data for this study, please refer to the codebook notes section of the PDF codebook. Users interested in obtaining restricted data must complete and sign a Restricted Data Use Agreement, describe the research project and data protection plan, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.


2011 (04/2011 - 07/2011)

The purpose of this study was to examine the capacity of small law enforcement organizations to prevent and respond to terrorist attacks.

Surveys were mailed to the chief executive (e.g., chief, commissioner, director of public safety, chief marshal, officer-in-charge) of each agency using the mailing address contained within the census database. The name of each agency's chief executive was identified through web sources and the most recent version of the National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators, Correctional institutions, and Related Agencies (National Public Safety Information Bureau, 2011). The survey was accompanied by a cover letter describing the purpose of the study, human subject protections, and instructions for completing and returning the survey, as well as a postage paid envelope. Although the survey was mailed to the agency's leader, in some cases it was completed by an individual other than the intended recipient. Nearly one of five (19.1 percent) of surveys were returned completed by someone other than the chief, commissioner, chief marshal, officer-in-charge, or other title denoting chief executive status in the organization.

The survey was administered in three mailings, with each wave intended to increase the response rate. The first wave of 810 surveys was mailed on March 10, 2011. Approximately 20 percent of respondents returned surveys by the time of the second mailing on April 7. The second wave produced an additional 10 percent response rate. A third and final mailing, sent May 3, generated a total response rate of slightly over 38 percent.

A final attempt was made to contact each non-responding agency in June 2011 in order to encourage participation. A member of the project team attempted to phone each of the roughly 500 non-responding agencies at least once, yielding an increase in the response rate of 7 percent. Overall, 350 agencies returned surveys for a realized response rate of 44.5 percent.

Small municipal police departments (employing between 1 and 25 full time officers) were extracted from the 2004 BJS Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies and stratified according to geographic location using the U.S. Department of Agriculture rural-urban continuum codes. Agencies no longer in operation at the time of the study were removed, resulting in an adjusted sample of 786 agencies.


Municipal law enforcement agencies employing between 1 and 25 full-time officers as enumerated by the 2004 iteration of the BJS Census of State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies (formerly the Directory of Law Enforcement Agencies).

Municipal law enforcement agencies

Homeland Security Survey

survey data

mail questionnaire

The dataset contains a total of 93 variables. The survey contained items covering topics such as preparedness, efficacy, risk, resource dependence, and institutional forces. In order to measure the influence of physical and relational proximity, respondents were asked a series of questions about their relationships and interactions with their nearest large municipal police department peer.

350 agencies responded to a survey sent out to 786 agencies in the sample (44.5 percent response rate).

Several Likert-type scales were used.



2015-12-22 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:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

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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.