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Evaluation of Efforts to Strengthen Police-Resident Relations in El Centro, California: A Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 1998
127 pages

This study examines efforts by the El Centro, California, Police Department (ECPD) to implement community policing as part of an effort to work with an increasingly bilingual and culturally diverse population.


The study attempted to learn how language and culture may affect the implementation of community-oriented policing and to experiment with strategies for strengthening police-citizen relations. The study was based primarily on face-to-face interviews with a random sample of 600 El Centro residents. Interview data were used to evaluate the effects of the department’s strategy on trust in police, willingness to work with police, familiarity with police and police performance, and to examine the influence of residents’ social and cultural characteristics on attitudes toward police. To enhance police-resident relations and support the implementation of community-oriented policing in El Centro, the police should increase their knowledge of the community and residents, offer diversity and human relations training, provide additional incentives and options for bilingualism, continue to promote police officer contacts with the public, encourage greater public participation in police-resident meetings, and make residents more aware that police officers need interaction with them. Figure, tables, references, appendixes

Date Published: September 1, 1998