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Implementing Community-Oriented Policing: Organizational Change and Street Officer Attitudes

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 48 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2002 Pages: 399-430
Richard E. Adams; William M. Rohe; Thomas A. Arcury
Date Published
32 pages
This article examines police officer attitudes toward community-oriented policing practices in six law enforcement agencies in North Carolina.
The authors examine four central issues in their examination of police department shifts toward community-oriented policing: (1) the organizational and personnel changes that are necessary when midsize and small police agencies shift their focus to community-oriented policing practices, (2) how these changes affect the activities of police officers, (3) street officer attitudes toward community-oriented policing, and (4) the reported job satisfaction of officer’s whose departments have moved toward community-oriented policing. They note that while an adequate amount of research has focused on community policing in the largest cities, few studies have focused on community-oriented policing in smaller jurisdictions. To fill this gap, the authors of this study analyzed self-administered survey data from six law enforcement agencies in North Carolina. The 285 returned surveys included questions regarding the level of support for community-oriented policing practices, the perceived effectiveness of community-oriented policing, departmental training needs, and job satisfaction. Additionally, more than 60 semistructured interviews with police and nonpolice personnel in each agency were conducted. These interviews focused on the perceived strengths and weaknesses of the community-oriented policing program in their agency. The authors offer detailed information about the results of this study that they have broken down by individual law enforcement agency. Overall, the results suggest that in comparison to traditional police officers, community police officers are more open to alternative policing strategies, more positive about the affect community policing has on crime rates, more supportive of community policing in general, and are more satisfied with their position within the department. Furthermore, the authors note that those officers who report that their department has a more participatory style of management indicate higher levels of support for community policing practices and higher levels of job satisfaction. In conclusion, the authors suggest that future research be geared toward evaluating the way in which community policing strategies are implemented in different types of police agencies. Also, future research should focus on comparing agencies across different sizes and geographic locations. Tables, appendix, notes, and references