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Research Briefs
Title Excerpt Author Link
Time to Get Back to Work in Policing?

De-policing (the practice of field personnel pulling back from proactive policing activities) has been on the rise across the nation since the fall of 2014, primarily in response to negative media attention and political protests targeting the police.  In the wake of anti-police sentiments and protests, some law enforcement officers and agencies made the intentional […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) Read More
Weathering the Storm in Police Staffing?

The recruiting and retention of qualified law enforcement officers continues to be a struggle for most law enforcement agencies. In many agencies, it has reached a crisis level. Many blame the current hiring and retention struggles primarily on the decline in public support for the police, fueled by biased media coverage and exploited by politicians and activist groups. Obviously, these conditions have not helped police recruiting and retention, but other root causes of the problems run much deeper and are, in many ways, more troubling in the long-term.

Matt Dolan, J.D. Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
How Do Cops Choose Their Specific Departments?

It is widely known that many law enforcement agencies today are struggling to recruit qualified applicants to fill their law enforcement officer vacancies. In previous articles, we have completed a detailed examination of the factors that led existing law enforcement officers to pursue their careers in law enforcement. In short, most officers were drawn to […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. & Matt Dolan, J. D. Read More
Threats to Surviving This Job

Law enforcement is one of the most difficult, stressful, and dangerous careers an individual can pursue. The threats to your life, however, come from more sources than the knives and guns of criminals. In fact, less than 20% of the law enforcement officers who died over the last three years died as a result of […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D Read More
Words Matter: The Impact of Specific Language on Traffic Stop Interactions

The most common form of citizen complaint filed against the police involves officer demeanor during a traffic stop encounter.[1] While law enforcement officers disproportionately encounter the criminal element of society, vehicle stops for traffic violations are one of their duties that puts officers in contact with a typical cross-section of the community.[2] Traffic stops can […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Recruiting the Next Generation of Cops

Many seasoned law enforcement officers seem to increasingly see the next generation of applicants as a “new breed” compared to applicants of the past. Often times, these differences are inevitably described in a negative light. But if there are significant generational differences, the fact remains that young men and women in their 20s and 30s […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D., Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
Serious Violence at Places of Worship in the U.S.—Looking at the Numbers

Violence at places of worship in the U.S. appears to have been increasing over the last two decades. While the most tragic and shocking incidents dominate media attention and public awareness, many smaller incidents of violence occur at places of worship every week. In order to develop an accurate picture of the scope and nature […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Reducing Vandalism at Places of Worship

Surveys of church leaders have revealed that more than 70% have experienced at least one act of vandalism to their church within the last year. More than 60% of these acts of vandalism have included graffiti.[i] Though often minor in the amount of actual danger posed, these acts blemish the appearance of the building, break […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Don’t Just Rely On Criminal Justice Students When Trying To Recruit Officers

We frequently hear from law enforcement leaders that they are struggling to recruit enough quality applicants to fill the law enforcement officer vacancies they currently have or soon will have. Often times, agencies look to university criminal justice programs as a pipeline for future officers. On its face, this strategy is a common sense one. […]

Attorney Matt Dolan, Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Making Discipline Stick in the Fire Service©

Some individuals in government have suggested that grievance arbitrators’ handling of employee discipline cases in the fire service tends to be biased in favor of the employees and against the fire department. The mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, for example, criticized the grievance arbitration process after being required to rehire a number of city employees that […]

Attorney Matt Dolan, Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Making Discipline Stick in Law Enforcement©

Some individuals in government have suggested that grievance arbitrators’ handling of law enforcement officer discipline cases tends to be biased in favor of the employees and against management. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, for example, has criticized the grievance arbitration process after being required to rehire a number of police officers that had been terminated from […]

Attorney Matt Dolan Read More
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
Developing Organizational Performance Leadership