Monday, July 22, 2019

Police Perception In My Community Essay Example for Free

Police Perception In My Community Essay INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE Community Oriented Policing is a philosophy and not a specific tactic, It is a proactive, decentralized approach, designed to reduce crime, disorder, and by extension, fear of crime, by intensely involving the same officer in the same community on a long-term basis, so that residents will develop trust to cooperate with police by providing information and assistance to achieve those three crucial goals (Trojanowicz   and Carter,1988) The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Crime Act) is widely recognized as a significant milestone in community policing. It was intended by President Clinton and Attorney General Reno as the â€Å"changing of policing.† The legislation provided the funding vehicle for an additional 100,000 police officers to boost law enforcement efforts in a climate of nationwide anxiety about crime. The Act gave the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (OCOPS) the task of supporting a major drive toward rooting community policing in solid foundations to become the prevailing orthodoxy in American law enforcement. (Nicholl, 1999) Law Enforcement Agencies throughout the country look to Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to improve their own services. According to OCOPS, â€Å" Community policing focuses on crime and social disorder through the delivery of police services that includes aspects of traditional law enforcement, as well as prevention, problem-solving, community engagement, and partnerships. The community policing model balances reactive responses to calls for service with proactive problem-solving centered on the causes of crime and disorder. Community policing requires police and citizens to join together as partners in the course of both identifying and effectively addressing these issues.†   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It is important to note then the Public’s Perception of the Police is an essential element for the success of Community Policing-based strategies. Throughout the country, studies have been made that correlate Police Perception and Community Policing. During the past 20 years, there has been an expanding body of research examining citizens’ attitudes toward the police. Most of this research has been directed at assessing the determinants of these attitudes. In contrast, less attention has been focused on the reasons why citizens hold certain attitudes (Frank et al,2005) The author then, as a member of the Chesterfield Police Department, has a special interest in Community Policing and Police Perception, most especially in his own community. This research them aims to study Police Perception particularly in the Community of Chesterfield Township, a part of The County of Macomb in the state of Michigan.   It is worth mentioning that The   Chesterfield Police Department ‘s aim is embodied in its mission statement:   it is committed to providing the highest quality of public service and crime prevention while maintaining the publics respect and protecting the rights and dignity of everyone. The Chesterfield Police Department is dedicated to strong community relationships while providing a safe environment to enhance the quality of life for our citizens and visitors, which is very much in line with the concept of Community Policing. This is further supported by this Police Department’s value statement , abbreviated as POLICE, which includes developing an everlasting PARTNERSHIP between the Community, having a dedicated to the OATH of protecting and serving all people ,recognizing the importance of all Department members and Citizens, treating each other with fairness, LOYALTY and respect , maintaining   the highest degree of INTEGRITY, being responsible and accountable for their own actions and decisions , believing that COOPERATION and teamwork will enable them to achieve all goals of this Department and having a commitment   to EXCELLENCE in the performance of their   duties (   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The Chesterfield Police Department’s Mission and Value statements share the same elements with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services which aims   â€Å"to help law enforcement agencies implement and enhance community policing, defined   as a policing philosophy that promotes and supports organizational strategies to address the causes and reduce the fear of crime and social disorder through problem-solving tactics and police-community partnerships.† (C.O.P.S. )   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Chesterfield Township is located in Macomb County, Michigan and encompasses an area of approximately 26 square miles. The population at the 2000 census was 37,004.   This increased to 446,962 in the year 2006. (Muller, 2006) The Township was established in 1842 and became a Charter Township in 1989 by Resolution. (Pall, 2002)   In Chesterfield, The number of violent crimes recorded by the FBI in 2003 was 28. The number of murders and homicides was 1. The violent crime rate was 0.7 per 1,000 people.   Meanwhile, in the whole Macomb county, of which Chesterfield is included, a total of   22,395 were reported for the year 2000 , a majority of reports were for Larceny and Motor vehicle theft. Sixteen of the reports for that year were on murder, 309 for rape and 384 reports on robbery for that year (Federal Bureau of Investigation to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, University of Michigan)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It is in from scope then that the author gathered data for the completion of this research Guided by feedback from other researches undertaken on Police Perception of the community such as these:   Ã‚   Gathering data on crime and community policing at the local level not only supplements our national data, but also allows local officials to identify their particular crime control needs, said Bureau of Justice Statistics Director Jan Chaiken.   As part of the Justice Departments emphasis on police working with residents in their neighborhoods, we are giving local law enforcement agencies tools to learn more about crimes and public opinion that may not be reported to the police.† Community policing is a crime fighting strategy that encourages law enforcement to work in partnership with the community to solve crime problems. The high degree of citizen support for Americas neighborhood police officers is a testament to the dedicated men and women who work day in and day out to establish relationships with residents in their communities, said Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder.   These relationships help citizens and police work together to promote community safety. (Smith et al, 1999)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In light of these statements, this research was undertaken to determine the Police Perception in the Community of Chesterfield Township, whether it is positive or negative through the use of a Police Perception survey adapted from earlier studies made by other police department in certain cities, particularly Portland (Campbell De long, 2005) , Pasadena (Police Assessment Resource Center, 2006). Chicago (The Chicago Community Policing Evaluation Consortium, 2004) and Kentucky (Kentucky Crime Prevention Coalition) it also aims to provide demographic breakdown of survey respondents in relation to their Police Perception in Chesterfield Township.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Such information will enable the Chesterfield Police Department to continue living out their mission statement and embody the philosophy of Community Policing by either maintaining or improving their performance based on their community’s police perception, as will be determined by the survey done for this study.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It is the hope of this author that this research will also lead to the initiation of other studies concerning his community and the other areas in the County of Macomb, and even the State of Michigan to further improve the Police Departments public service performance to ensure the safety of the citizens. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE The idea of examining Police Perception is not new. The community’s perception of the police department has been linked to the success of police programs to promote safety in the neighborhood. A study made by Gallagher. Et al in 2001, summarizes the studies made regarding Police Image and Community’s perception of the Police in a â€Å"The Public Image of the Police: Final Report to The International Association of Chiefs of Police. Research findings point out that : â€Å"Polls of the adult population in the United States since the 1960s show that the majority of the public has an over-all positive view of the police. Depending on the year and the particular measure used, the percentage of respondents with a positive assessment of police has been between 51 and 81 percent. When asked to assess service to their own neighborhoods, respondents tend to produce even higher evaluations. Relatively few citizens offer a negative assessment of police. (Gallagher et al. 2001).   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Research also recognizes that Police Perception has a great impact on the success of the promulgation of Community Policing. Trojanowicz Carter(   1991) discuss the philosophy and role of community policing. It points out that â€Å"Community Policings unique contribution is a radical departure from the past and the present. While todays community policing efforts retain the best elements of the foot patrol programs of the past, they are intended to avoid both the old systems abuses and shortcomings.†   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In â€Å"Community Policing, Community Justice, and Restorative Justice: Exploring the Links for the Delivery of a Balanced Approach to Public Safety† Nicholl in 1999 with a report funded by Grant No. 98-CK-WX-0059 awarded to the National Victim Center by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice. It discusses the concept of Community extensively, in a policy-maker’s perspective.   Liou Savage make the connection between Community Policing Strategies and Public Perception of Police through their research â€Å"Citizen Perception of Community Policing Impact† This study examines the impact of community policing by analyzing citizens perception of crime and police work before and after implementation of a community-oriented policing program in three neighborhoods in the city of West Palm Beach, Florida. The study reveals very positive findings about the community policing, including: perception of decreased local crime, increased perception of police performance, neighborhood improvement, and police-community relationship. Implications concerning the relationship between the community and the police, and citizen satisfaction and public services are discussed.( Liou Savage) Many other studies have been done to examine Police perception and these take into consideration different variables, being done in various settings.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Frank, Smith and Novak (2005) focused on the reasons why citizens have certain attitudes towards police officer. Their study â€Å"uses the survey responses of 613 residents of a Midwestern city to examine the information accessed by citizens when responding to questions regarding their general and specific attitudes toward the police. The findings suggest that citizens focus on attributes of agencies and encounters, some focus on the behavior of officers during interactions, and others base their attitudes on general perceptions of the occupation of policing.†   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   A comprehensive look at   Police perception issues can be found in Brown Benedict’s article â€Å"Perceptions of the police: Past findings, methodological issues, conceptual issues and policy implications† which is a   research updates and expands upon Decker’s article â€Å"Citizen attitudes toward the police: a review of past findings and suggestions for future policy† by summarizing the findings from more than 100 articles on perceptions of and attitudes toward the police. Initially, the value of research on attitudes toward the police is discussed. Then the research pertaining to the impact of individual level variables (e.g. race) and contextual level variables (e.g. neighborhood) on perceptions of the police is reviewed. Studies of juveniles’ attitudes toward the police, perceptions of police policies and practices, methodological issues and conceptual issues are also discussed. This review of the literature indicates that only four variables (age, contact with police, neighborhood, and race) have consistently been proven to affect attitudes toward the police. (Brown Benedict,2002)   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In terms of application, several police departments have made their own studies on Police Perception. â€Å"Community Policing in Chicago an Evaluation of Chicago’s Alternative Policing Strategy†   Prepared by The Chicago Community Policing Evaluation Consortium was done in through a grant awarded to   award to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority in 2004. The â€Å"Portland Police Bureau 2005 Community Assessment Survey† was conducted for: City of Portland, Bureau of Police by Campbell de long resources Inc in August 2005 Police Assessment Resource Center and   Vera Institute of Justice completed â€Å"Assessing Police-Community Relations in Pasadena, California† in 2006 . The Kentucky Crime Prevention Coalition, meanwhile, adapted the use of a Community Policing Survey. HYPOTHESIS H0= There is no significant percentage of Chesterfield Residents who have a have a positive perception of the Chesterfield Police Department H1= There is a significant percentage of Chesterfield Residents who Have a positive perception of the Chesterfield Police Department METHODOLOGY:   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Taking into consideration the limitations in man power and resources for this research, a simple random sampling method was applied to come up with the survey results.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Based on the calculation for a 95 per cent confidence level and confidence interval of five, the sample size was 275.   The survey was conducted by distributing survey forms in several households   around the Township of Chesterfield. Respondents were limited to Chesterfield residents above 18 years of age. Only one respondent per household was accepted.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   These survey forms, consisting of eight simple questions pertaining to the residents’ perception of the police, which was based on survey forms used by other Police Departments as stated in the literature review. Only eight questions were included in the survey, because these questions focused on Police Perception. This is due to the scope and resource limitation stated earlier. A copy of this questionnaire is included in the appendix section of this paper   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   This study’s objective is to present data about Police Perception of the residents of the Township of Chesterfield in Macomb County in the State of Michigan. This research is done to show that the general perception of police in the sample population perceive the police positively.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The sample size was 275 respondents in the township of Chesterfield, which has a population of 446,962 in the   latest census in the year 2006. Based on a confidence level of 95 and a confidence interval of 5, the sample size is sufficient to estimate the response of this community regarding their perception of the Chesterfield Police Department.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Figure 1 shows the demographic breakdown of respondents by race. More than half of the respondents were Caucasians, which also reflected the actual population of Caucasians, 93 % of Chesterfield population, in the 2000 Census made by the US Census Bureau. In the sample population, 61 per cent was composed of Caucasian or white residents. Other races composes   14.5 percent and 12 percent were of African-American descent. Asians comprised 5.5 per cent and 4.4 % of sample population were Hispanics/Latino. Meanwhile, 1.1 per cent was   American Indians and Pacific islanders compose on 0.7 per cent. Based on these figures, it can be surmised that the Chesterfield Township was predominantly Caucasian, in terms of the population. The relationship of this data to the results concerning Police Perception will be discussed later.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The study only included residents who were 18 years old of age and above. The data shows that   majority of respondents were from the 18-29 age group, with a percentage of 39 of the sample population. The age group with the least number of respondents was that of residents 50-59 years old, representing only 9 per cent of the sample population. This signifies that the Chesterfield township has fairly young residents, as seen by the larger percentage of those below middle age.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Given the limited man power and resources, the author opt to estimate Police Perception using only eight questions adapted from other studies stated earlier. The first three questions were on how the community perceived police officers, based on their encounters. The fourth question estimated the residents’ opinion about the adequacy of the number of police officers in the community. The fifth, sixth and seventh questions estimated residents’ perception of police based on three parameters- behavior, ability to assess needs and relationship of police officers to residents themselves. The last question asked the residents to give their over-all perception by indicating their rating for the Chesterfield Township Police Department.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Figure 3 Police Perception Responses in Chesterfield Township Community shows the relationships of responses of residents to the first three survey questions. As evident in the chart, answers for the questions on police perception based on encounters follow a similar pattern, indicating that most respondents agree that police officers are prompt, professional and fair.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Figure 4 represents the respondent’s opinion on the need for more police officers in the community. Based on the results gathered, majority, 36.4 per cent , slightly agree that there is a need for more police officers in the community. As a whole, though, it can be seen that more residents disagreed and strongly disagreed, 14.5 and 7.3 per cent respectively, that there was further need for more police presence as compared to respondents who agreed,9.1 per cent, and strongly agreed,1.8 per cent to the augmentation of police visibility.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   With regard to the Chesterfield community’s perception of Police based on three parameters, their responses follow a similar trend, as evident in Figure 5. In terms of behavior, 49 . 5 per cent rated police â€Å"Good†. 32. 7 % gave Chesterfield police officers a rating of â€Å"excellent†. â€Å"Fair was how 14. 5 per cent rated police in the community while 3.6 per cent did not know how to answer this question. In their ability to address the need of the community, Chesterfield police officers were   again rated â€Å"Good† by 54 . 5 per cent of   the residents.    An â€Å"Excellent† rating was given by 29.1 per cent, while â€Å"Fair† was what 11. 6 per cent deemed appropriate. There were 4.7 per cent of the population, though, that didn’t know how to rate their police officers. When it comes to relationships between Chesterfield residents and their community’s police, majority, 43.6 per cent chose to rate this, as â€Å"Good†, Fair was give as rating by 27. 3 per cent of the population and 21.8 gave an â€Å"Excellent† mark. There were 7.3 residents, though that were still unsure how to rate the Chesterfield community’s relationship with its police officers.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Based on this information, Police perception in   the areas specified were rated â€Å"Good† by a majority of Chesterfield residents. This point out a positive view of the township’s police officers.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   In relation to this positive response, the over-all rating of Chesterfield township community residents is seen in Figure 6. However, here, we see a shift of the rating from â€Å"Good† to Fair†. Apparently, most residents, 40.4 per cent particularly, perceive the Chesterfield Police Departments’ performance as â€Å"Fair†. Thirty two per cent believe that the township’s police deserve a â€Å"good† rating. Approximately 25 per cent believe their Police force is â€Å"Excellent† HYPOTHESIS TESTING   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   This limitation of this study has been presented in the previous chapters. It is important to reiterate that this is mainly, a descriptive study. However, for research purposes, the Hypothesis that â€Å" There is a significant percentage of Chesterfield Residents who Have a positive perception of the Chesterfield Police Department† has been stated, with its corresponding null hypothesis â€Å" There is   no significant lower percentage of Chesterfield Residents who have a have a positive perception of the Chesterfield Police Department†. Based on the data presented, there is evidence to believe that on all eight questions, the community’s police perception leaned towards a positive image of the members of the Chesterfield Police department.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Although specific statistical tools were not applied on the data, the descriptive statistics show that the Hypothesis should be accepted and the null hypothesis are rejected. CONCLUSION and RECOMMENDATIONS   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   This study aims to observe the Chesterfield community’s perception of its police officers. Based on the data present, it is evident that most residents of this community hold a positive perception of their police officers. Descriptive Statistics show evidence of these, based on the percentages of positive responses.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   This study, however is simplistic and there are a lot about Police perception these communities that should be evaluated so that they are translated into information that can improve the services of the Police Department.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The data gathered for this research however, can be a guide to others who will pursue such inquiry on Police Perception and who are interested in this area as a means on evaluation of Community Policing Programs, much like what other police   departments have done in their respective communities.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It is important to point out, however, that more resource be invested in such an endeavor to be able to come up with data that is comprehensive and more accurate.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   It is the hope of this author, though that this simple research has given a glimpse of the Chesterfield’s community’s perception of its police officers, and serve as a spring board to more advanced and relevant research. 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Condon, R.   (1980)   Determinants Of Attitudes Toward City Police.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Criminology 17, 485–494 Sims, B., Hooper,M., Peterson S.A. (2002)   Determinants of citizens’ attitudes toward police:  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Results of the Harrisburg Citizen Survey – 1999 Policing : An International Journal of Police Strategies Management, 25, 457 471 The Chicago Community Policing Evaluation Consortium ( 2004 ) â€Å"CAPS at Ten :Community Policing in Chicago An Evaluation of Chicago’s Alternative Policing Strategy†.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Institute for Police Research retrieved 27 April 2008 from   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚ Trojanowicz R.C.   Carter, D.   The Philosophy and Role of Community Policing.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The National Center for Community Policing, Michigan State University.  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   retrieved on 28 April 2008. from

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