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Structure of Informal Communication Between Police Agencies

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 30 Issue: 1 Dated: 2007 Pages: 93-107
Date Published
15 pages

This study examined the structural features of informal communication between police agencies throughout the United States, with attention to the characteristics of the agencies selected for communication and reasons for communication.


The study found that features of the responding agency significantly influenced the nature of the communication. Agencies tended to choose larger agencies for contact/communication and agencies similar to themselves in terms of the characteristics of the jurisdictions served. Larger agencies may have been selected for contact due to the perception that they are likely to be better sources of information than smaller agencies. This also suggests that access to information and the exchange of information relevant to policing operations was the motivation for informal contacts between agencies. This also indicates that agencies are seeking to draw on perceived expertise from other agencies regarding particular needs. Geographic proximity (same State or region) was also important in the development of an informal communication network. The identification of these networks of informal information exchanges might be the key to the strategic placement of demonstration projects. This study analyzed data from Weiss' Communication of Innovation in Policing in the USA (1997a). This dataset included responses from 360 local (including county) police departments, 43 State police agencies, and 13 sheriff's departments. The current study focused on agency responses pertinent to the informal communications in which the agency was involved. 7 tables, 6 notes, and 30 references

Date Published: January 1, 2007