Policing Style Endorsed by Officers in Urban and Rural Areas: Examining the Differences

William V. Pelfrey, Jr., University of South Carolina

The style of policing endorsed by officers defines a significant portion of their discretionary activity. This is particularly true for officers in community policing assignments since these officers are responsible for proactively identifying and resolving problems. While there is significant literature describing the style of policing endorsed by officers in urban community policing settings, little attention has been directed towards those community policing officers in rural settings. This research considers the distinctions between the style of policing endorsed by officers assigned to motorized patrol and community policing assignments, in both rural and urban settings and paticularly addresses attitudes towards the utility of community and problem oriented policing. An analysis of survey data suggests several distinctions exist between urban and rural officers, including support for COP and POP ideas and the appropriateness of traditional, Watchman style policing.

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Updated 05/20/2006