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Research Briefs
Title Excerpt Author Link
Reducing Crime and Calls for Service through Nuisance Abatement

A nuisance abatement law is a local ordinance holding property owners civilly liable to the city for excessive criminal law or health code violations that occur on their premises. Under most of these ordinances, property owners can be assessed fees or fines in civil court to reimburse the city for excessive use of public safety […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Pick Your FTOs Carefully

Field Training Officers (FTOs) play a crucial role in preparing new officers for the complexity of the job, and transmitting the police department culture to these new officers. In the police academy, recruits develop a foundational “book knowledge,” but it is the field training portion that teaches them how to fairly and impartially apply all […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
What is Your Real Hiring Pool?

Law enforcement agencies are often confronted about the racial makeup of their departments by members of the news media, civil rights activists, community groups, or local politicians. Often those who are criticizing police agencies compare the racial composition of the police department’s employees to the racial composition of the city or county that they police. […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
The Public’s Confidence in the Police Might Be Better Than You Think

We frequently see stories in the national news media about the public’s lack of trust in the police. When these stories move beyond anecdotal accounts, they often cite Gallup Poll data regarding public confidence in the police. For instance, much media attention was paid to the fact that public confidence in the police dipped to […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Fair Leadership Matters

“Procedural justice” is a popular term today. This term generally means fairness and respect in processes that resolve disputes or allocate resources. Many use the term when discussing police-community relations, arguing that law enforcement officers must act in a procedurally just manner (showing professionalism and respect) when interacting with the public in order to have […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Improving Case Clearance Rates in Criminal Investigations

While it is obviously best to prevent or deter crime before it occurs, this is not always possible. Despite the fact that modern policing tactics, such as problem-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing, have contributed to massive crime decreases since the 1990s, agencies still have to grapple with the challenge of solving crimes that cannot be […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Citizen Complaints and Misconduct—The 3 Career Paths

Most research on citizen complaints and rule violations shows that allegations against police officers generally happen within the first five years of that officer’s career. If the officer is lucky enough to still have a job after these first five years, complaints and other career problems tend to subside for the rest of the officer’s […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Public Perceptions of Police Profanity

The use of profanity when dealing with members of the public has been debated in law enforcement circles for years. Most law enforcement leaders argue the use of profanity with members of the public is unprofessional and should be avoided whenever possible. Other leaders disagree with this. They instead argue that officers often need to […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Not in Our House? Substance Abuse among Police and Firefighters

It is not something we like to think about, but the evidence reveals that many law enforcement officers and firefighters struggle with abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription drugs. Public safety professionals experience unusually high levels of stress related to potential dangers to their physical safety and the effects of experiencing a multitude of […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
How Dangerous Are Domestic Violence Calls to Officer Safety?

Domestic violence (DV) calls carry a reputation for being extremely dangerous for officers. Some academics and DV victim advocates, however, have challenged this reputation and have suggested that DV calls are rarely dangerous for officers. This research brief will examine the research on assaults on officers at DV calls. Specifically, it will examine the prevalence […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Remember the People between the Dots

Criminologists have documented that as young law enforcement officers progress through their careers, there is a tendency to develop cynical views toward the general public. The public primarily calls the police when things have gone wrong and, therefore, officers are overexposed to negative events and to bad citizen behavior. As a result, officers can often […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Estimating the Cost of a Problem Officer

Law enforcement is a high-liability profession. Lawsuits against law enforcement officers and agencies absorb an inordinate amount of personnel time and agency resources. Officers and supervisors have to be interviewed or deposed, attorney fees have to be paid, documents have to be gathered and copied, meetings are held with city officials, and insurance companies must […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Community Policing is Not Soft on Crime: The Evidence

Dolan Consulting Group is committed to the principles of community-oriented policing. Unfortunately, we sometimes encounter push back from attendees in our courses that suggest community-oriented policing strategies are some form of a “hug-a-thug” philosophy that is soft on crime and criminals. We are often baffled when we encounter such views as we struggle to understand […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
The Patrol Officer’s Perspective on Rewards and Punishments

Decades of extensive research in psychology has revealed that people respond to rewards and punishments in the workplace.1 Law enforcement officers are no exception. We are generally motivated to engage in, or refrain from, specific behaviors because of the rewards and punishments associated with those behaviors. Private industry often links pay and other rewards to […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Communicating Performance Expectations to Officers

It seems like common sense that if you want someone to do something for you, you would simply ask or tell that individual what you need to be accomplished. It would seem that this strategy of simply telling people what you need, is a better strategy than expecting people to intuitively know or read subtle […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Examining the Facts on Implicit Bias

A number of sources have claimed that public employees are influenced by implicit biases. The U.S. Department of Justice, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, for example, have suggested that law enforcement officers hold unconscious, implicit biases against people of color.1 It has been argued that these implicit […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Street Sergeants Leading by Example: The Evidence

Leadership in law enforcement, especially at the street level, is extremely important at a time when there is evidence of de-policing in certain neighborhoods and communities across the country, contributing to rising crime levels in those areas.i There is a strong temptation for many officers, in light of a barrage of negative media attention and […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Improving Police-Minority Relations: The Out-of-Car Experience

In the wake of a significant increase in officer deaths from violent attacks and unceasing criticism by media outlets, political figures and other groups in 2016, citizen satisfaction and confidence in the police in America has actually rebounded from a pattern of decline that has been going on since the early 1970s. In 1968, Gallup Poll data showed […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Inconsistent Employee Discipline

Have you ever tried to suspend or terminate an employee for a serious act of misconduct, only to have this discipline reversed by a judge or grievance arbitrator? If so, you are not alone. Current research reveals that 5 out of 10 public employees are successful in having their discipline overturned when challenging their employers […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
What Effects do School Resource Officers Have on Schools?

Over the last two years there has been a small, but very vocal, segment of the U.S. population that has raised concerns in opposition to having law enforcement officers permanently assigned to schools as school resource officers (SROs). Those in opposition to school resource officers have claimed that assigning officers to schools has resulted in […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Biased-Based Policing Reports Are Failing the Police and the Community

Recent public opinion surveys have revealed that the vast majority of Americans believe that use of racial profiling by the police is widespread.1 This is deeply disturbing for two reasons. First, it is disturbing because it undermines police legitimacy among the vast majority of our citizens. Second, it is disturbing because the vast majority of […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Getting Rid of Bad Apples: Winning at Arbitration

Research has repeatedly revealed that a very few individuals commit the vast majority of the serious misconduct experienced within public agencies—from law enforcement to the fire service to public schools. For example, one study in Chicago found that only 4.5% of elementary school teachers and administrators were responsible for the falsification of the standardized test […]

Dr. Richard Johnson Read More
Why Officer Demeanor Matters

One could easily argue that the field of law enforcement is currently experiencing a legitimacy crisis in the United States. Gallup Poll data, the most reliable source of data we have, has shown that for the last several years, citizen confidence in their local police has been rather low. In the first quarter of 2016, […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Reducing Fear of Crime and Increasing Citizen Support for Police

Extensive research has shown that citizen satisfaction with the police is influenced by their perceptions about neighborhood crime and disorder. Numerous studies have found that citizens had lower overall satisfaction and confidence in the police when they had higher levels of fear of crime in their neighborhood and higher perceptions of neighborhood disorder (such as […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Dispelling the Myths Surrounding Police Use of Lethal Force

Over the last three years there has been growing concern in the public discourse about the use of force, especially lethal force, by the police in the United States. This concern spawned the creation of the Black Lives Matter organization and motivated President Obama to organize a commission on policing in the 21st century. Concerns […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Developing Organizational Performance Leadership