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Community Policing and the Work Routines of Street-Level Officers

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Review Volume: 26 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2001 Pages: 17-37
Date Published
21 pages

The article presents the results of a police officer workload study designed to measure the effects of the rise of community policing on the previously accepted data developed from police workload studies.


A study of the effects of community policing on the day to day work environment and activities of police officers is presented in this article. Community policing research has traditionally asserted that the use of community policing techniques will cause officers to spend more time on order maintenance and social service activities and less time on crime fighting activities. The authors engaged in a workload study of both community and beat police officers. Data was collected over a 13 month period in 1997 and 1998 using a sample developed from the Cincinnati, Ohio police department. Sixteen activity categories were measured for each officer type. Those measured activities were foot patrol, motor patrol, crime incidents, administrative (crime related), administrative (non-crime incident related), investigative, traffic enforcement, order maintenance, service, ordinance enforcement, community-based service, problem focused activities, information gathering, meetings with nonpolice service providers, travel and waiting, and personal. The activity that comprised the largest portion of work schedule for each officer type was motor patrol, however, beat officers spent substantially more time in motor patrol than their community counterparts. In general, community policing officers have greater discretion in determining their overall work activities and controlling their community interactions. 3 tables, 3 notes, 37 references, appendix

Date Published: January 1, 2001