U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Law Enforcement in a Time of Community Policing

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 33 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1995) Pages: 539-563
Date Published
25 pages
Community policing creates the expectation that officers will become more selective in making arrests and that those decisions will be influenced more by extralegal considerations and less by legal ones; this study examined the influence of legal and extralegal factors on the decision to arrest in Richmond, Va., where the police were implementing community policing in the patrol division.
Data on 451 nontraffic police-suspect encounters were drawn from ride-along observations. The arrest/no arrest decision was regressed on variables that represented legal and extralegal characteristics of the situation. Legal variables showed much stronger effects than extralegal ones, but this depended on the officer's attitude toward community policing. Supporters of community policing were, as predicted, more selective in making arrests and much less influenced by legal variables than were officers with negative views of community policing; however, pro- community-policing officers were similar to negative officers in the extent of influence exerted by extralegal factors. There were some differences between the two groups of officers on the strength and direction of effects of predictor variables taken individually, but only 1 of 17 was significant. Thus, in a time of community policing, officers who supported it did manifest some arrest decision patterns distinguishable from those of colleagues who supported a more traditional view of law enforcement. 4 tables and 63 references

Date Published: January 1, 1995