Communications In Law Enforcement by Silvana TurpinCommunications In Law Enforcement by Silvana Turpin

Communications In Law Enforcement

bySilvana Turpin

Paperback | July 22, 2005

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This easy step-by-step approach provides students with vital, practical guidance on how to develop and maintain effective communication skills for success in law enforcement careers. The text discusses the general concepts of the communication process, both oral and written, the barriers that interfere with communication, and ways to overcome these barriers. It covers notebooks, memo, email, report-writing and letter-writing skills that police officers must master, as well as interviewing and workshop facilitation.

Title:Communications In Law EnforcementFormat:PaperbackDimensions:192 pages, 11 × 8.25 × 0.5 inPublished:July 22, 2005Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:013196920X

ISBN - 13:9780131969209

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Read from the Book

Program evaluation is of vital importance for practitioners and researchers associated with policing. It goes without saying that we work in an era where the ultimate question asked of policing programs (and other criminal justice programs, for that matter) is "does it work?" As we all know, this is not an easy question to answer for most policing programs. The problem is that the question of whether a policing program works cannot typically be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." What researchers and practitioners typically find is that even the most conceptually sound programs often have different outcomes based on a constellation of factors such as time period of the study, departmental environment, officer attitudes, external political environment, and characteristics of study cities or communities such as racial and socio-economic composition. Rarely do we ever encounter a program that is a resounding success or failure. It is also important to keep in mind that, at least to some extent, program outcomes are reflective of choices made on the front end by researchers and police personnel regarding study site, method of program implementation, role of the police department in the process, and selection of outcome variables. There is also the choice of whether to conduct a process evaluation or an impact evaluation. While it would be misleading to say that program outcomes are always "methodological artifacts," we can certainly acknowledge the link between research design and program outcome. If your experience is anything like mine, you regularly have people ask you about the utility of various policing and crime prevention programs. One question I get the most from my students, colleagues, and other associates is: "Does community policing work?" In response, I am forced to begin a protracted discussion of how the research literature indicates that it has been effective in some locations, in some time periods, and under some conditions. Then, as a sociologically-trained criminologist, I have to explain that human behavior is highly complex and that any policing program will inevitably bring about conflicts revolving around power, ideas, methods, and egos. Not surprisingly, I have never had the same person ask me that question (or one like it) again. Perhaps one step in the right direction is the recent report commissioned by the United States Congress entitled Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn't, What's Promising: A Report to the United States Congress (Sherman et al., 1997). This seminal report included a review of more than 500 federally funded program evaluations conducted over the past few decades. The researchers were able to conclude fairly conclusively that some programs are generally effective, some are generally ineffective, some have promise, and some have not been researched enough to reach a conclusion. What is so impressive about this report is that the researchers were able to (partially) answer the "bottom line" questions of interested media, pundits, and politicians, while maintaining the scientific rigor and intellectual independence that academics and practitioners have come to expect. I invite readers to peruse this report, in particular Lawrence Sherman's chapter that is specific to policing programs entitled "Policing for Crime Prevention." Historically, we know that police agencies in the United States have undergone many shifts and transformations in operating philosophy and in tactics. With each shift, agencies routinely design and implement new programs and attempt to find better ways to meet the needs of the citizenry. During the past two decades, we have seen a tremendous growth in the number of new programs that police use to address a wide range of legal issues. This growth in new programs has been accompanied by a massive increase in federal funding for police programs and program evaluation. Under the rubric of professional or militaristic policing, police agencies have addressed crimes involving drugs and violence with efforts such as K-9 units, "buy and bust" drug programs, drug task forces, SWAT teams, firearms suppression units, and school violence units. With the rise of the community policing model since the mid-1980s, police agencies have created programs and units designed to improve the relationship between police and community members. These efforts include foot and bicycle patrols, officer assignment to specific neighborhoods or retail locations, police substations, officer-initiated community meetings, and door-to-door interviews with citizens. Many police departments are also increasingly sensitive to issues of violence against women, white-collar crime, and computer crime, and accordingly have created special programs to address each. Thus, with the myriad of different programs being used throughout police agencies in the United States, it is imperative that we have sound methods for determining the efficacy of these programs. Program evaluations serve both practitioners and academic researchers, and are typically required as part of federally funded projects emanating from sponsors such as the National Institute of Justice. Police administrators need a sense of how well programs are working so that they can make decisions about allocation of officers and funds. Academic researchers benefit from program evaluation by learning about the dynamics of what makes for a good program and the circumstances that determine how well programs perform. Program evaluation also fosters greater accountability between police administrators and researchers involved in the design and implementation of programs. The norm in most articles, textbooks, and readers on police program evaluation is to focus on the program's outcome measures, thus only briefly describing the details of the evaluation process. Indeed, researchers tend to devote only minimal space to the original design of programs, the selection of the research site, the timetable for the process, and the selection and operationalization of outcome variables. Another important part usually left out of research reports is a description of the role of the police agency. Unfortunately, researchers sometimes take police agencies for granted and do not devote enough attention to the police role in the evaluation process. In light of these deficiencies in the literature, my goal for this volume is to focus on the "nuts and bolts" of police program evaluation. In short, the papers focus more on the process of evaluation and less on the final product of evaluation. This volume covers several substantive issues in the design and implementation of police program evaluations. It contains reports from leading researchers detailing the evaluation of several types of policing programs such as: community policing programs, firearms suppression programs, crime prevention in high-crime areas, gang units, and drug task forces. What makes this volume unique is that the authors focus on the methodology used in their evaluations, the implementation methods used, how the outcome variables were selected and operationalized, the role of the police agency in the process, and the implications of the findings for police agencies and researchers. The volume is divided into two sections. Part I, "An Introduction to Evaluation Research," contains two papers designed to summarize what we currently know about evaluation research. In Chapter 1, Copes and Vieraitis present a review of the literature on program evaluation in the social sciences. This chapter sets the stage for thinking about program evaluation in any social scientific field. Specifically, Copes and Vieraitis begin by enumerating the major concepts used in evaluation research as well as the purposes for evaluation. Next, they spend a good deal of time discussing the strengths and weaknesses of experimental designs, quasi-experimental designs, and non-experimental designs. They conclude with a discussion of the barriers to effective evaluation research. In Chapter 2, Kerley brings the global discussion of evaluation research in the first chapter to bear on the current state of program evaluation in policing. Kerley reviews the evaluation literature in policing, focusing on the methods that researchers and police agencies have used in previous studies. Kerley concludes this chapter by summarizing how lessons learned from previous evaluations can inform the design and implementation of new programs. Part II of the reader is called "Evaluating Policing Programs" and contains eight chapters. The authors focus on how their evaluations were conducted, and readers can easily recognize some of the "dos and don'ts" of program evaluation. In Chapter 3, Skogan describes the evaluation of a well-known community policing program in Chicago. Skogan details the voluminous work involved with designing and conducting an evaluation plan for a community policing program that was implemented across Chicago's 279 police beats and 25 districts. In particular, he describes the process of choosing the experimental and control sites, as well as the major outcome variables. Skogan then looks at the impact of community policing on a variety of community problems, and illustrates how different ways of measuring those problems pointed to the same conclusions. In Chapter 4, Decker, Rosenfeld, and Burruss describe their evaluation of an innovative firearms suppression program developed by the St. Louis Police Department. The program under study is controversial in that when officers have suspicion or receive calls that certain residences contain illegal firearms, officers are dispatched and subsequently ask residents to sign "consent to search and seize" waivers for their homes. If residents sign the forms, they are not charged if illegal firearms are found, but all illegal firearms are confiscated by police. Decker and Rosenfeld describe the unique obstacles they faced in evaluating this program beyond simply looking at the number of firearms seized. Specifically, they focus on how local departmental and external political changes in St Louis led to three unique phases for the program. In Chapter 5, Weisel and Shelley describe their evaluation of specialized gang units in the cities of Indianapolis and San Diego. Because the identification of gangs and gang-related crime is often difficult and the activities of gang units are often complex, the authors discuss the challenges faced when researchers attempt to evaluate anti-gang units. Ultimately, Weisel and Shelley use a multi-method approach — which includes field observations, examination of departmental policies and performance evaluations, and in-depth interviews with police leaders and line officers — to determine the effectiveness of the gang units in each city. In Chapter 6, Moore, Johnson, and Roth present results of their evaluation of Maryland's Hot Spot (HSC) Initiative. The HSC Initiative is a statewide, multi-agency program designed to prevent and control crimes in Maryland's most troubled neighborhoods. Key participants in the program include police officers, political leaders, community organization representatives, attorneys, neighborhood association representatives, probation and parole officers, and residents from several regions of the state. To evaluate such a large-scale effort, Moore et al. rely on multiple evaluation tools such as progress reports, in-depth interviews, site visits, focus groups, and network analysis. The results underscore the importance of inter-agency cooperation and collaboration as key factors in program success. The authors conclude with suggestions for how to effectively evaluate comprehensive police programs. In Chapter 7, Dunaway, Earnest, and Wood report findings from their evaluation of multi-jurisdictional drug task forces in Mississippi. Despite its rural nature and perceptions about its "gentile" culture, the authors demonstrate how the state of Mississippi, in reality, has extensive drug problems. Multi-jurisdictional drug task forces form the basis of Mississippi's anti-drug program, and were implemented in ten counties across the state. The task forces focus on arrest and treatment of drug offenders. The authors use a combination of arrest disposition analysis and focus groups with task force officers to assess the efficacy of the program. In Chapter 8, Coldren, Costello, and Shipinski describe their innovative methods for evaluating a community policing training institute housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This institute serves police departments in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The authors describe their use of traditional pre-test and post-test surveys as well as qualitative evaluation tools such as focus groups with officers and reviews of officer performance evaluations. This multi-faceted evaluation plan led them to several important conclusions about the effectiveness of the training institute. In Chapter 9, Capowich describes results from an evaluation of a community policing program which was implemented in two cities. What makes this chapter so interesting is Capowich's finding that although the exact same community policing program was implemented in both cities, the results were quite different. In one city, the program was largely a success as police officials, local government and community leaders, and community residents forged partnerships to address crime problems. In the other city, the philosophy of community policing never caught on among line officers or local political leaders, and consequently had little to no effect on crime rates and police-community relations. Capowich's chapter demonstrates that even if a program is empirically and philosophically sound, there are a host of internal and external factors that will affect program implementation and success. In the final chapter, series editor Dantzker summarizes the papers presented in the volume with an eye toward how future program evaluations can benefit from the information contained in this volume. Far too often, edited collections seem to end abruptly without any true integration of the content. Dantzker's chapter ties together the theme of the volume and raises some important questions about the future of evaluation research in policing. The hope is that this volume, as a whole, will prove useful for researchers, practitioners, and students of policing.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - The Importance of Communication in Policing

Chapter 2 - Memo Writing

Chapter 3 - Letter Writing

Chapter 4 - Notebooks

Chapter 5 - Police Report Writing

Chapter 6 - Public Speaking

Chapter 7 - Workshops

Chapter 8 - Sentence Skills