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Examining officer support for and perceived effects of police consolidation

Policing

Published online on

Abstract

Policing: An International Journal, Ahead of Print.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to review officer support for the consolidation of law enforcement agencies. Design/methodology/approach The current study surveys 139 officers employed by four agencies that have recently undergone a consolidation of police services. The survey asked officers their level of support for consolidation of services as well as their views of how consolidation has affected employment conditions, organizational characteristics, and the delivery of police services. Findings While officers generally support consolidation, views on the effects of shared services vary significantly by level of support. Officers who most strongly support consolidation are also most likely to view it as leading to improvements in some working conditions (e.g. job satisfaction, morale), elements of organizational capacity (e.g. professionalism, investigative/intelligence capacity, recruitment), and the delivery of services (e.g. cost-effectiveness, quality and efficiency of services, and reductions in crime). Research limitations/implications The sample size and response rate are low. Still, the study offers insights into officer views of consolidation not previously available. Practical implications This research offers insights to communities considering the consolidation of police services regarding what organizational, employment, and service conditions are most likely to appeal to officers, whose support is necessary for successful implementation. Originality/value While single case studies previously considered officer attitudes on these issues, this work is the first to comparatively examine views of shared services across varying levels of support for consolidation.