Policing Small Communities: Exploring the Relationship Between Structural Characteristics and Agency Styles

John Liederbach, University of North Texas
James Frank, University of Cincinnati

Using data collected through the systematic social observation of police officers employed by twenty rural, small-town, and suburban agencies in the Greater Cincinnati, OH area, our research explores the hypothesized link between the structural characteristics of communities and police agency styles. The research examines whether officers working in small, but structurally diverse types of communities behave similarly in terms of officer activities and citizen interactions. Comparisons across small community types identified both similarities and differences in terms of the way in which officers spent time on patrol, however, the organizational styles exhibited by these agencies were somewhat inconsistent with those hypothesized in prior literature. Possible factors that may have influenced these findings are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006