Mastrofski Leads Community Policing Study

Posted: July 26, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

Stephen Mastrofski, director of the administration of justice program and professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs, has been awarded $313,339 from the National Institute of Justice, the research and development branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, to research community policing. He began work on this project in 1997 as a faculty member at Michigan State University.

Colleagues at other universities and consultants work with Mastrofski to track the progress of community policing in police agencies around the country by conducting departmental surveys and analyses of professional journals. “We want to find out how departments are structured and what resources are committed to community policing,” says Mastrofski. “This is useful for figuring out police organizations’ commitments to various structures and practices that have been associated with community policing.”

In the initial phase of the research, heads of municipal and county police agencies with more than 10 members were surveyed to determine how they are implementing community policing, what their future plans are, and what results they expect from their efforts. Approximately 1,900 agencies responded to the survey.

Questionnaires were then directed to midlevel managers in police agencies with more than 500 officers to learn how community policing practices vary from precinct to precinct within an agency.

The final phase of the research involves monitoring police professional journals to find out how community policing is characterized in the press. “Police managers are very interested in obtaining a professional viewpoint on how the occupation is changing. One of the ways police departments decide which practices to adopt is by reading about the experiences of others, as reported in these journals,” Mastrofski explains.

The project will be completed in spring of 2001. A final report will be delivered to the funding agency, and a summary will be provided to all police agencies that participated in the study. “The results will provide policy makers with a snapshot of community policing nationwide,” says Mastrofski. “Comparing these survey results will tell us what directions police are taking this important reform.”

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