Objectives: To introduce and evaluate the Police–Citizen Interaction (PCI) Survey, the electronic survey component of the National Police Research Platform, designed to measure the quality of police–citizen encounters at the local level.
Methods: Three studies tested the feasibility, validity, and sample representativeness of the PCI Survey. A randomized control trial (RCT) compared the PCI Survey results with the most widely used survey method, the telephone survey. The primary measures were the community member’s satisfaction with the contact, judgments of procedural justice during the interaction, police effectiveness, and police legitimacy.
Results: The RCT revealed no significant differences between the PCI Survey and the standard telephone survey, thus increasing confidence in the validity of the PCI methodology. The PCI Survey was able to replicate “known group” findings from prior research; capture agency-level differences in public satisfaction; uncover complex interactions of race, type of incident and procedural justice; and show the relative importance of both process and outcome during police-initiated contacts.
Conclusions: The PCI Survey approach, utilizing web and voice interactive methods, shows considerable promise as a tool for measuring organizational performance in new ways, focusing on procedural fairness and the quality of police services rather than the reliance on crime statistics. The survey appears to have utility for local jurisdictions, while at the same time providing standard metrics for cross-jurisdictional theory testing and benchmarking. The survey was tested initially with three agencies of different sizes. It will be refined for implementation on a larger scale.
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