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Evaluation of the Lincoln, Nebraska Police Department's Quality Service Audit: The Impact of Citizen Feedback on Individual Officers

NCJ Number
Date Published
94 pages
The Lincoln Police Department (LPD) and the University of Nebraska at Omaha Criminal Justice Department established a working partnership that was successful in designing and implementing a randomized experiment to study the impact of the LPD's program of giving citizen feedback to individual police officers.
Using a number of measures of officer attitudes and performance, this evaluation was unable to detect any differences between the experimental and control groups after 9 months of giving members of the experimental group monthly feedback from citizens with whom they had contact. There are a number of possible reasons for the lack of impact. First, a small group of officers participated in the experiment. Researchers were limited at the outset by the existence of only 103 officers who had not yet participated in the feedback program when the evaluation began. Further, only slightly over 50 percent agreed to participate in the experiment. A total of 57 officers were left between the experimental and control groups. In addition to working with a small number of officers, researchers were studying officers who may have been less likely to be positively influenced by receiving citizen feedback. Except for a small number of new recruits, officers in the evaluation study had all had earlier invitations to participate in the program and had declined. A group apparently less interested than others in receiving citizen feedback, they may also be a group less amenable to change based on such feedback. It is also possible that the group studied had been "contaminated" by earlier exposure to department-wide feedback from the program. It is possible, of course, that expectations from the program were overly optimistic. With no consequences attached to the citizens' evaluations, the information alone may not be powerful enough to effect behavioral or attitudinal change. 5 references

Date Published: January 1, 1999