Evaluation Plan: Natick Police Department
|Topics:||🏛️ Justice, Law Enforcement, Police, 🔪 Crime, 👨🏻⚖️ Criminal Justice|
Table of Contents
Natick Police Department Website
The Natick Police Department website is embedded within the website of the local government of the town of Natick located in Massachusetts. The home page of the police department website features a message from the head of the police, James Hicks, where he outlines the mission statement of the department (NatickMa, 2017). The home page also provides the contact information of the police chief, the emergency numbers, the physical location of the police station, a directory of the staff, and working hours. The next page provides details about the department and the various sections of the police workforce serving the city. The website allows users to report crimes or tip the police department. A page provides information about the steps that the department has taken in fighting the opioid crisis.
The next section of the website allows users to download a number of forms for applications, reports or service requests. The website displays the details of the sexual offenders in the registry of Natick. Other pages within the website relate to public safety, education, public awareness, and a page containing useful links and resources. Finally, the website has a link to the annual police reports of the department dating back to 2011. Overall, the website of the Natick Police Department is easy to use. A user can easily navigate through the various pages to finds the information they require. The main sections of the department’s website are listed on the left-hand-side of the website, which makes it easier to scroll through and select (NatickMa, 2017). The website has a search box where the user can type a query. However, when a user makes a search, the search results display information from the all the resources of the website rather than from only the Natick Police Department. It can be frustrating for a user to sift through the result for information provided specifically by the police department. Furthermore, the website is well structured, and the information is listed clearly.
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- The website of Natick Police Department is effective in sharing information about crime within the city. The department posts annual reports where the department provides statistics about crime in the town. The website also lists the number and types of complaints filed by residents. Additionally, the reports show the type of progress of investigations and prosecution of crimes, violations, and complaints. A weakness of the website is that the department should provide information about crime more frequently rather than annually.
- Through the website, the department adequately and accurately provides information about the agency (NatickMa, 2017). The contact information including the contacts of the police chief, the email address, fax number and emergency numbers are listed on the department’s home page. The website also provides directions to the department, a directory of officers and the work hours of the administration. However, the agency fails to provide the contact information of the various divisions within the department.
- Finally, the police department effectually utilizes the website to share information about key resources of the agency. The website contains pages for online reporting, public safety concerns, emergency preparedness, child safety, links to key resources, and helplines.
Letter from the Police Chief
In the letter from the police, the police chief lists the two values of the department as community policing, commitment to service and integrity. One goal that the police chief lists in the letter is that the department will strive to be responsive to the needs of the residents of the Natick community (Hicks, 2017). The value of community policing refers a form of service provision by a police division whereby service is decentralized, and police officers partner with residents to solve problems and emerging issues. The police department intends to achieve community policing through mutual engagements with the residents through community policing. One way of measuring the community-policing concept is by undertaking community surveys. In the community surveys, residents of the community will indicate their level of engagement with the police department. The surveys will indicate how effectively the police department has implemented community policing by determining the level of trust that the residents accord to the department. The survey will provide information about the level of accessibility of the police department in Natick. Moreover, the surveys will indicate how well the residents of Natick know the police officers who serve them as well as the services and programs offered by the police department.
Another value mentioned by the police chiefs is integrity (Hicks, 2017). The principle of integrity refers to how well police officers abide by the code of conduct for the service. Integrity ensures that policing personnel do the right thing in all situations, discharge duties with honesty and fairness and desist from misconduct. One way of measuring integrity is by evaluating information related to corruption within the police department. A police department with minimal or zero cases of corruption displays high integrity. Integrity can be gauged by assessing reports of police officers abusing the authority bestowed upon them. The information includes complaints launched by residents towards specific members of the police department. Integrity can also be measured by observing whether the police department discharges its responsibilities in a fair and impartial way. Police officers have a duty to provide undertake their duties and provide services without favouring people on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. It is also important to note whether the police department uses unnecessary force and whether arrests are handled appropriately.
The third value of the Natick Police Department is commitment to service (Hicks, 2017). The first measure of commitment to service relates to how effectively the police department has managed to fight crime in the community it serves. This can be established by analysing the annual reports released by the police department. A reducing crime rate will be an indicator of the police department’s commitment to service. Commitment to service can be evaluated by taking surveys among community members who will provide views on their satisfaction with the services provided by the police department. The next indicator of the commitment of the police department is the effectiveness and reliability of the programs initiated by the department. Programs that run smoothly and efficiently are a reflection of the commitment to service within the agency. Finally, commitment to service can also be measured by assessing whether police officers are fit for their duties and whether they desist from activities that could impair their capacity to discharge their duties.
The police chief states that one of the core goals of the Department is to be responsive to the needs of the community (Hicks, 2017). The police chief indicates that the department is open to new ideas and ready to share resources to achieve a high level of responsiveness. The responsiveness of the police department can be measured by assessing how quickly the police officers respond to issues raised by community residents. This also entails how quickly officers respond to emergency calls. It is necessary to evaluate how quickly the department responds to issues raised by residents on the department’s website, through email and on social media. By observing the operations of the police department, it is possible to identify whether the police department is reactive or proactive in its approach to responding to the needs of the community.
Impact and Process Evaluation
The Department’s Philosophy
- What is the core mission of the police department?
- What are the core values that underlie the operations of the police department in regards to service provision and policing?
- What is the vision shared across all departments of the police department in regards to community policing?
- What are the programs that the police department is currently implementing in relations to community policing?
- What are the new programs that the police department has initiated as a response to emergent crimes within the community?
- How effectively have the ongoing programs managed to respond to the problems and needs of the community?
- What practices within the police department facilitate community oriented policing?
- Which activities derail the fulfilment of community policing objectives?
- How regularly do police officers interact with community members outside of the police station or outside official duties?
- Does the police department employ a centralized or decentralized policy in regards to decision-making?
- What is the policy of the police department towards citizen involvement in the policing activities of the agency?
- Can the policy of the department be classified as either proactive or reactive based on its responsiveness to policing issues in the community?
Approaches for Assessing Processes
- To determine the core mission, the approach to be taken is a face-to-face interview with the head of the police department. The interview will feature open-ended questions where the police chief will explain the goals of the agency in detail (Slide12, 2017).
- It is possible to establish the core goals of the police department by a review of information released by the police department. One such source is the website of the police department. Police department websites usually list the fundamental values and principles that guide the operations of the agency.
- When assessing the vision shared across all the departments of the police department, the first step will be to carry out interviews with the heads of the various divisions within the department. The next step is to review the responses provided by the heads of the divisions to determine the goals and visions that are shared across the divisions.
- To determine the programs that the police department is undertaking to facilitate community policing, research on the website of the organizations is suitable. The website of the police department lists the programs that are ongoing as well as the programs aimed at assisting community-oriented policing.
- The approach to identifying and understanding new programs that the department has initiated will entail an interview with the head of operations (Slide13, 2017). In the interviews, the head of operations will be queried on the emerging problems in the community and the specific programs that have been initiated by the department to overcome the problems.
- To examine the effectiveness of the programs, the evaluation will employ a survey of residents of the community. The survey will probe a sample of community members on the effectiveness of the policing activities of the police department and their satisfaction with the activities.
- To establish the activities that facilitate community policing, the appropriate approach is field research. The field research will involve an observation and assessment of the activities of the department and their impact on community policing (Slide16, 2017).
- Evaluating practices that derail fulfilment of community policing will require police officers to fill a questionnaire where they will identify the specific problems they face in the line of duty.
- Residents of the community will indicate how many times a day they get to interact with or see police officers in their locale.
- The decision-making policies will be determined by interviewing the police chief, departmental heads and police officers on the ways that decisions are reached and later implemented to determine the level of autonomy and existing hierarchy.
- Surveys of random samples of the population of the community will help to determine the levels of citizen engagement in policing activities.
- Field research, especially during an emergency, will assist in establishing whether the department takes a reactive or proactive policy to community policing (Slide15, 2017).
- How frequently and willingly do the residents of the areas volunteer information to the police department?
- How effective is the communication strategy employed by the police department?
- How many complaints were filed against police officers on the grounds of misconduct or corruption in the past years?
- Are there processes to protect the identities of police informants and to protect victims and complainants?
- What is the conduct of off-duty police officers?
- Do the police officers handle all people with respect and fairness without favour for a particular race or gender?
- Does the police department undertake in public awareness and education placed by residents on emergency numbers and helpline?
- Has the department tries to actively involve the population in the activities of the agency?
- Which new programs are specifically designed to assist community-policing efforts?
- What degree of authority do police officers have when undertaking their duties outside the police station?
- How actively do police officers engage in foot patrols?
- Are the residents of the community satisfied with the quality of services provided by the police department?
The research design chosen for the measuring the impact of community policing is an exploratory research (Slide2, 2017). An exploratory research will provide a broader range of information on the impact of the community-oriented policies and programs. The sources of data useful to the research are interviews of the police administration, annual police reports, surveys of residents and news reports. In regards to stakeholders, it is important to identify people within the community who have the influence of mandate to hold the police department to a higher level of accountability. Such stakeholders include council members, the mayor, and elected representatives.
- Hicks, J. (2017). Message From the Police Chief. Retrieved from Natick Police Department: http://www.natickma.gov/184/Police-Department
- NatickMa. (2017). Police Department – Natick, MA. Retrieved from http://www.natickma.gov/184/Police-Department
- Slide12. (2017). Chapter 9 (cont…).
- Slide13. (2017). Finish Ch. 9/Start Ch. 10.
- Slide15. (2017). Ch. 10 continued.
- Slide16. (2017). Ch. 11 Field Research/Observation (cont….).
- Slide2. (2017). Chapter 1 (continued).