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Building Tools for a Learning Organization: Assessing the Delivery of Community Policing Services in a Non-Urban Setting

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2004
200 pages
This study evaluated the Ada County, Idaho Sheriffs Office (ACSO) delivery of community policing services, as well as their advancement toward becoming a learning organization.
Law enforcement agencies must work toward becoming learning organizations; meaning, that law enforcement agencies must put themselves in a position to enable accurate reflection of their effectiveness at crime reduction. The current study assessed the ACSO’s progress in community policing in five main areas which embody community policing elements: continuing assessment of residents’ perceptions of crime and police services, substation policing, problem-oriented identification and resolution, performance evaluation in a community oriented policing environment, and the development of community partnerships. Data were drawn from telephone interviews and self-administered questionnaires of 755 Ada County residents regarding their perceptions of crime and police services and substation policing. Survey and focus group interviews were also conducted with county residents, stakeholder, and Ada County deputies. Results of statistical analyses revealed that the ACSO effectively implemented community and problem-oriented policing across the agency. Additionally, the findings indicated that ACSO is prepared to become a learning organization by making use of the extensive data they have collected. The authors encourage other rural police agencies to take an example from the ACSO, especially in terms of its commitment to community oriented policing, beat integrity, and substation policing. Strategic recommendations are offered for ACSO improvement. General implications of the findings are discussed, including the need to consider community concerns when establishing substation policing and the notion that there is no “one size fits all” model for community policing. The needs of each particular community are integral to designing an effective community policing program and to becoming a learning organization that capitalizes on data collection and analysis to comprehensively combat local crime problems. References, exhibits, endnotes, appendixes

Date Published: June 1, 2004