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
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.