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Determinants of Community Policing: An Open Systems Model of Implementation

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2005
Jeremy M. Wilson
Publication Type
Report (Study/Research)
Grant Number(s)
Organizational theory was the basis for developing and testing a model of the implementation of community policing (COP).
The study focused on the organizational features that may facilitate the development of COP and the characteristics of COP that may influence organizational structure. The study also explored the link between organizational context and structure in order to determine whether organizational context indirectly impacts COP implementation through organizational structure. A key feature of the model of COP implementation is the measure of implementation, which was derived from multiple COP activities and the testing of two data samples. Data sources included the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics surveys of 1997 and 1999, the U.S. Census of 1990, surveys of police organizations conducted by Edward Maguire and William King, and data on funding from the Federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. These sources yielded data on 401 large municipal police agencies in the United States (100 or more full-time sworn officers). The data analysis found that the following organization-context variables did not affect COP implementation when controlling for other variables: organization size, task scope, population heterogeneity, unemployment, and environmental capacity. The strongest predictor of COP implementation was being a police agency located in the West. An organization's age was also a strong predictor of COP implementation, along with population mobility. Police-chief turnover negatively influenced COP implementation. Although funding for COP positively influenced its implementation, the influence was comparatively weak. None of the variables related to structural complexity had a statistically significant direct effect on COP implementation, although the number of ranks influenced formalization, which did positively influence COP implementation. Formalization was the only variable of structural control that directly impacted COP implementation. COP implementation had no effect on any measure of organizational structure. 3 tables, 2 figures, and 168 references
Date Created: November 8, 2005