How to Rate Police: Quality and Working Together

The following are excerpts from How to Rate Your Local Police: A User’s Guide for Civic Leaders, Governmental Officials, Concerned Citizens, and Police.

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[E]valuating and rating the characteristics of the leadership, the organization, and its policies is only a means toward an end. As a citizen, you should be primarily concerned with the quality of police service: how well are the police fulfilling their triple obligation to control crime, maintain order, and provide service?

Good leadership, sound organization, and well-conceived policies are the building blocks of high quality police service. It is both your right and your obligation as a citizen to probe your police agency, ask the questions, and decide for yourself if your community’s public safety needs are being met… [in the book, a check-list follows].


Does the police agency address crime and order problems by using all community resources?

The traditional police response to these problems has been either to focus on solving each individual case or to increase routine patrol or investigative operations. These responses have not been notably successful, most probably because they are reactions to crises or to public pressure rather than well-conceived and systematic problem-solving operations. A good police agency will be striving to put in place a comprehensive program of crime deterrence based on a thorough knowledge of the nature and extent of the problem: where it occurs, when it occurs, who is most often the victim, who appears to be causing it. Solving the problem should involve both police measures as well as those of other governmental agencies, social services, and resources from the affected community… The police are an integral part of the total community’s response to a problem, rather than separate and distinct from other service agencies in the community.



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