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A Multi-Site Assessment of Police Consolidation

Award Information

Award #
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Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2013, $780,158)

The purpose of this research is to conduct an assessment of three popular types of consolidation schemes that are in use in policing today. Given the current fiscal climate, communities have exhibited increasing interest in police consolidation, but there is little evidence regarding costs, benefits, and expected outcomes to guide policy-makers and practitioners on the various options available. Specifically, Michigan State University will examine the implementation, effectiveness, and cost-efficiency of three models of police consolidation: mergers, regionalization, and contracting.
Michigan State University (MSU) will investigate the consolidation experience in: Lakes Area Police Department, a merged department that provides law enforcement services to the cities of Chisago and Lindstrom, Minnesota; City of Compton, California who contracts services from the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department; City of Pontiac, Michigan who contracts services from the Oakland County Sheriffs Department; and the York Area Regional Police Department in Pennsylvania which is the product of a merger between the York and Windsor Township Police Departments and it also provides contracted services to the boroughs of Dallastown, Windsor, Jacobus, Yoe, Felton and Red Lion. MSU will conduct a process, outcome, and cost assessment in each of these locations.
The process assessment will be comprised of surveys of sworn personnel providing services to the consolidated areas, a stakeholder survey of key community leaders, police command staff, and city officials, and a resident survey of 400 residents per location. MSU has also created a Practitioner Advisory Committee (PAC) for this project consisting of police leadership from each of the sites. The PAC will have input in crafting the surveys. For the last component of the process assessment, MSU will make two site visits and engage in ride-alongs at each of the sites.The outcome assessment will be conducted through a survey sampling 400 residents at each site and an Auto-Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) analysis. The resident surveys will help MSU identify any changes or perceptions of changes in overall police service delivery. The ARIMA analysis will examine 228 monthly observations from January 1997 to December 2013 on calls for service; response time; arrests; and reported crimes. Using these various data sources, MSU can develop a comprehensive understanding of police effectiveness and public interaction with the police. The ARIMA model will help identify the influence of the consolidation on police effectiveness.
Finally, MSU will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the police consolidation schemes detailed above. This will be based on tangible and intangible costs and benefits that will allow the researchers to present a monetized basis for comparing between the alternatives presented in the analysis. MSU will also conduct an economic-impact analysis that focuses on broader switchover costs to consolidation as well as economic multiplier impacts, such as jobs created or lost. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 12, 2013