Police Consolidation and Shared Services

Officer Views in Contracting, Merger, and Hybrid Agencies. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, Vol. 42 (2): 270-283, 2019.

The purpose of this paper is to assess officer perceptions of consolidation of law enforcement agencies under three specific models: contracting, merger and a hybrid of regionalization and contracting. A survey was administered to 139 officers employed by four agencies using one of the models of interest. Officers generally support consolidation, but views vary by agency type. Officers in the contracting agencies, for example, generally viewed consolidation as less cost effective than officers in other agencies viewed it, but were more…

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Examining Officer Support for and Perceived Effects of Police Consolidation. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, online before print.

The current study surveys 139 officers employed by four agencies that have recently undergone a consolidation of police services.While officers generally support consolidation, views on the effects of shared services vary significantly by level of support. Officers who most strongly support consolidation are also most likely to view it as leading to improvements in some working conditions (e.g. job satisfaction, morale), elements of organizational capacity (e.g. professionalism, investigative/intelligence capacity, recruitment), and the delivery of services (e.g. cost-effectiveness, quality and efficiency…

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Attitudes Toward the Police in Communities Using Different Consolidation Models. International Criminal Justice Review, online before print.

We surveyed residents in four communities with alternative models of policing: a merged department, two agencies that contracts for services, and a regional agency. We asked residents about their confidence in the police. We found that the type of police model was an important predictor of police confidence, controlling for other traditional measures of attitudes toward the police. Read More

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A Multi-Site Assessment of Police Consolidation. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, 2018.

To develop practical resources for policymakers and practitioners, we used a multi-method approach to examine the implementation and effectiveness of three models of police consolidation: merger of agencies, regionalization under which two or more agencies join to provide services in a broader area, and contracting by municipalities with other organizations for police services. Specifically, we conducted field visits, surveys of residents and police officers, and analysis of crime data in four communities that had consolidated their police services.

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The Effects of Police Contracting on Crime: An Examination of Compton, California. Journal of Experimental Criminology, Vol. 14 (1): 59-81, 2018.

The utility of police consolidation, and in particular police contracting of services, has received widespread attention in academic and practitioner circles. However, the bulk of empirical research centers on potential fiduciary benefits; only limited scholarship has explored the possibility that changes in police services may correspond with differences in crimes solved and offenses observed. To address this gap, we examine consolidation in police services in a historically high crime, disadvantaged urban setting (Compton, California), which began contracting with the Los…

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Consolidation of Police and Fire Services in the United States. International Criminal Justice Review, Vol. 27 (3), 203-221, 2017.

More than 100 municipalities across the United States have consolidated their police, fire, and emergency medical services into a single, consolidated agency. As initial reasons to consolidate change or diminish, some agencies have deconsolidated, but many remained consolidated. In this work, we use perspectives of contingency theory and institutional theory of organizations to explore why agencies may remain consolidated. Data and insights are drawn from two expert panels and a series of seven case studies. We found contingency theory helps explain why…

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Adopting Alternative Models of Police Service in Small U.S. Communities. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, Vol. 11 (1): 39-51, 2017.

The issues that communities and agencies face when considering whether to adopt an alternative model of police service vary by type of consolidation, level of structural change, local preferences and circumstances, and a wide-array of other variables. Drawing from the literature, a focus group of practitioners, and case studies of four communities that consolidated services in different ways, this research examines the transition process, challenges, and successes of implementing alternative service delivery models. It concludes with a set of themes…

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Prevalence, Form, and Function of Consolidated Public Safety Departments in the United States. Justice Research and Policy, 2017.

Most communities in the United States provide fire and police services through separate departments, but some operate a single consolidated one for police, fire, and, frequently, emergency medical services. The number of such public safety departments has grown in recent years, but little systematic research has been done on them. This article presents results of a census and subsequent survey of public safety departments in the United States to examine their prevalence, form, and function Read More

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Essentials for Leaders: Police Consolidation and Shared Services: Identifying, Developing and Sharing Lessons. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, 2016.

This executive summary overviews research and resources developed to provide independent information to assist communities and decision makers in understanding, implementing, and assessing alternatives to the delivery of police service. Coverage includes findings regarding a wide range of research on police consolidation and shared services, including mergers, regionalization, contracting, public safety consolidation and deconsolidation, civilianization, engaging stakeholders, and working with the media. Also discussed are a web-portal and series of videos developed to share information and resources about police consolidation and shared services.…

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Featured Research

A Performance-Based Approach to Police Staffing and Allocation

Wilson, Jeremy M., & Weiss, Alexander (2012). A Performance-Based Approach to Police Staffing and Allocation. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Organizing for Brand Protection and Responding to Product Counterfeit Risk: An Analysis of Global Firms

Wilson, Jeremy M., Grammich, Clifford, & Chan, Fiona (2016). “Organizing for Brand Protection and Responding to Product Counterfeit Risk: An Analysis of Global Firms.” Journal of Brand Management, Vol.23(3): 345-361.

Attitudes Toward the Police in Communities Using Different Consolidation Models

Chermak, Steven, & Wilson, Jeremy M. (2018). Attitudes Toward the Police in Communities Using Different Consolidation Models, International Criminal Justice Review, online before print.