"The Promise of Policing, Journal of Urban Analysis, 5 (Spring, 1978), 203-221.
This article examines policy evaluation in the conduct of American policing at four levels of
increasing scope: at the level of performance (asking how well assigned tasks are being
carried out); productivity (asking about the consequences of those tasks); potential (asking
how much policing could accomplish); and alternatives (asking if it would be better to spend
law enforcement money in some other way). The article reviews recent research on policing
relevant to each of these foci. Despite the importance of the police function and the enormous
budgetary implications of policy-making about municipal police, this research literature is
limited in quantity and quality. The issue of why there has been so little systematic policy
analysis in police work is addressed in some detail.
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