How to Rate Police: The Right Question

UnknownThe following is from my new and revised book, How to Rate Your Local Police:

RATING POLICE

The traditional methods — the crime rate, the number of arrests, the clearance rate, the ratio of officers to citizens, and response time — used to measure a police agency’s overall quality and effectiveness are very limited. They cannot tell you if you have a good police agency. Instead, you need to ask questions about the leadership, policies, and the organizational characteristics of your police agency… Citizens are currently asking the wrong questions about their police agencies. Personal measures of satisfaction are deficient as measures for rating a police agency because personal satisfaction may be achieved at the expense of larger community interests. Nevertheless, sound random surveying, using what the business sector has learned about customer satisfaction, can be informative and reveal citizen attitudes regarding how they perceive police; especially in matters of trust and respect… As important as they are, the three sets of questions are secondary to the primary, essential question:

  • Is your police agency fair and effective in fulfilling its responsibilities to the community?

How to rate cover

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