Sustainability and Community-Based Policing

Joseph F. Donnermeyer, The Ohio State University
Jeremy M. Wilson, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT
One of the challenges facing law enforcement agencies that engage in various community-based policing efforts is sustainability. It is difficult for most community-based police programs to show tangible results in the short-run, and officers who volunteer (or are assigned) to these efforts can often feel as if they have become marginal to their agency. The purpose of this paper is to describe the results from a statewide study of sustainability among officers involved in a community-based substance abuse prevention education program. Sustainability is defined as officers' estimation of the probability that they will remain in their present position for two more years. The independent variables include: 1) background characteristics, including age, gender, years of experience and years until retirement; 2) continuing involvement in attending annual re-trainers and other training related to community based policing; and 3) perceptions of support for the prevention program among other officers in the agency and among key constituencies in the community. Results indicate that there are four basic types of officers: 1) those who will not remain in their present position because of promotion or retirement; 2) those who will not remain in their present position because they feel marginalized within their agency; (3 those who will remain in their present position despite feeling marginalized within their own agency; and 4) those who will remain in their present position and who perceive widespread support for their involvement in the program.

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Updated 05/20/2006