Magazine article Law & Order

Satisfaction with the Police

Magazine article Law & Order

Satisfaction with the Police

Article excerpt

The NIJ recently released a short summary of research titled Satisfaction With Police, What Matters? (NJC 194077) Some of the findings are obvious. However, some are worth both noting and taking action on.

The obvious category included the finding that improving the quality of the daily interaction between patrol officers and citizens is the best way to improve public satisfaction with the police. Crime victims and traffic violators were less satisfied with police than those who had placed calls for service. Those who were dissatisfied with a response to a call or a traffic stop were less satisfied than those who had no contact with police, and vice versa.

Two useful recommendations, however, were emphasized in the report. First, it seems the more we explain things to people, the better satisfied they are. This was the case even when the resulting action was one of enforcement. We may have once known that, but after years on the job the tactic may have been displaced.

The "press hard, you are making five copies" quip simply results in more contested traffic tickets than the officer who stands by the roadside and belabors the entire criminal justice process and answers every conceivable question. Drivers expect to be told why they were stopped and how to handle the citation. The same goes for literally every kind of call for service. Burglary victims expect us to arrive in a timely manner and keep them routinely involved in the status of the case.

The public has literally no clue about any particular criminal justice process, and we know virtually everything about it. …

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