Computing Officer "Downtime," a Comparison of Observation Data and CAD Data

Christine Famega, University of Cincinnati
James Frank, University of Cincinnati
Lorraine Green Mazerolle, Griffith University

Many police departments that claim to have implemented community policing and problem solving expect their officers to engage in these activities between responses to calls, at the same time, officers complain that they do not have sufficient time between calls to engage in these activities. Over the last 30 years many studies of patrol officer workload have been conducted, these are primarily of two types, studies using dispatch data, and studies using observational data. Dispatch records do not include information concerning tasks performed by patrol officers about which the dispatcher is not informed, or information concerning what police officers do during their free patrol time. Observational studies of police use of time have not specifically focused on activities engaged in during "downtime" (as opposed to "uptime" or responding to calls for service). This study proposes to examine observational data to determine how much downtime officers have, but also to examine and compare CAD data for the same period. This may be a significant methodological contribution, as it will provide future research efforts with a useful proxy technique for using CAD data as a cheap substitute for expensive observational data.

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Updated 05/20/2006