Does community policing generate greater numbers and different types of citizen complaints than traditional policing?

Matthew J. Hickman, Alex R. Piquero, Jack R. Greene

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Recent policing literature suggests that community policing and problem solving will generate additional ethical dilemmas at the officer and organizational levels. As a result, several scholars have argued that police agencies might see an increase in the generation of citizen complaints. Using official departmental complaints data collected for all graduates of a recent Philadelphia Police Academy class, the authors examine the effects of role assignment (i.e., community vs. traditional policing) and other individual-level variables on complaint generation for a period of 3.5 years after graduation. The authors test the hypotheses that the proportion of officers assigned to community policing roles and traditional policing roles who have generated (a) citizen complaints, (b) different types of complaints, and (c) multiple complaints is equal. The results suggest that both groups generate complaints in equivalent proportions. The authors then shift to individual-level predictors of complaint generation in the same cohort of officers. Logistic regression results indicate that several individual-level variables are significantly related to complaint generation, whereas role assignment is not. Implications for police policy and future research directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-84
Number of pages15
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

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