This document discusses the extent to which computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems can support community policing.
CAD systems were developed to satisfy citizens with rapid responses to all calls for service, and effect arrests to reduce crime. CAD data can be of particular benefit in identifying problems and in measuring the impact of problem solving efforts. This study explored the current uses of CAD to support community policing, new ways to use CAD data for performance measures under community policing, and changes in CAD systems and related policies that may be needed to better support problem solving and other community policing activities. The four major dimensions of community policing are: (1) philosophical, such as citizen input and emphasis on personal service; (2) strategic, such as emphasis on prevention and geographic focus; (3) tactical, such as problem solving and partnerships with citizens; and (4) organizational, such as structure and management. CAD systems and current CAD applications were examined at three study sites. These case studies revealed a number of similarities in community policing implementation. Each site had its own community policing philosophy, while including the essential components of partnerships, problem solving, and organizational change. In addition to achieving a geographic focus through police service areas, all three sites operated storefront offices. Problem identification, analysis, and assessment involved the use of CAD data at all three sites. The study sites had taken advantage of CAD data to plan, modify, and monitor their community policing strategies, but technical difficulties made it difficult to extract valuable data in a timely manner. A national survey was conducted of all police departments in the country serving jurisdictions with populations of 250,000 or greater and a sample of departments in jurisdictions with less than 250,000 residents. Survey results showed that 77 percent of the departments had assigned geographic responsibility to patrol, and about one-third changed their communications procedures for call handling. 4 endnotes, 20 exhibits, 19 footnotes, 82 references
Date Published: July 1, 2002
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