Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $649,974)
Under this award, the Justice Policy Center of the Urban Institute (UI) will assist BJS in the design and implementation of its 2010 Survey of General Purpose Law Enforcement Agencies (SGPLEA). This work will build upon and expand the collection of accurate and reliable national-level statistics under BJS law enforcement statistical program that
began in 1987.
The collection of timely and accurate information about law enforcement agencies is
central to BJS mission to provide data to Federal, state and local policymakers to make
informed decisions about how best to combat crime and ensure efficient and evenhanded justice.
In addition, the research and academic community, the media, the public, and criminal justice practitioners all benefit from national statistics about law enforcement functions, processes and
performance. The addition of data from the 2010 SGPLEA will not only provide important
policy-related and practical information about general municipal, county and state public police departments to all of these consumer groups, but it will facilitate the measurement of key administrative changes over time and across different kinds of police departments in the United
States. It will also lay the groundwork for BJS future program of management and performance statistics that will be administered at regularly scheduled intervals consistent with the
recommendations of the National Research Council (NRC).
The proposed SGPLEA plans call for beginning the project in October 2010, engaging in survey action planning in the fall and fielding the SGPLEA in January 2011. The primary data collection approach will be a web-based data collection system, designed and managed by UIs Information Technology Center. Alternative compact disc, hard
copy mail and fax collection methodologies will also be employed. A variety of follow up
procedures are planned, including personal contacts with individual law enforcement agencies by UIs expert consultants, to insure at a 90-95% survey response rate and a 100% item rate. In addition, an on-line performance monitoring and response tracking/communications system will
be implemented to assist in UIs overall management of the survey and to enable BJS program managers to monitor UI performance in near real time.
The survey will result in the delivery to BJS of a machine readable database of survey
responses, codebooks, and processing documentation in September 2011. In addition, UI will produce a survey efficiency report, which will be examined by BJS and two roundtables of police experts during the fall of 2011. Recommendations coming from these roundtables will
provide guidance to BJS in their design of future general and special purpose law enforcement agency surveys under its more comprehensive and consistently scheduled law enforcement statistical portfolio.