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How To Assess and Improve Operations of Small Law Enforcement Agencies

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2017
27 pages

This training guide presents a framework for areas of a small law enforcement agency that should be regularly assessed and provides indicators of a problem, along with suggestions on how to improve each area.


The guide first discusses the value of assessing the performance of a small law enforcement agency, indicating that this should be done regularly in order to ensure that all phases of an agency's operations are examined for their effectiveness and efficiency. If this is not done, an agency's cost-effectiveness is likely to diminish, which is particularly critical for a small agency with limited resources. The guide then provides suggestions for assessing and improving eight areas of an agency's performance. These areas are 1) agency operations; 2) community policing; 3) crime prevention; 4) crime analysis; 5) agency training; 6) professional standards function; 7) strategic planning; and 8) feedback systems. For each of these areas, a checklist of questions is provided for measuring performance, and suggestions are offered for managing improvements. Guidance is also provided for other aspects of agency functioning, including critical event management, leadership focus areas, features of management and leadership, ways to improve community service, and planning for succession when agency leaders retire.

Date Published: October 1, 2017