A study to address the effectiveness of University Police programs at Montana State University-Bozeman
Rippy, Roger L.
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The major purpose of this study was to determine the perceived effectiveness of the Montana State University-Bozeman Police Department at meeting the goals of "Community-Oriented Policing" and the needs of the university community. Achievement of this purpose was accomplished through the methodology of stratified sampling. The survey instrument was crafted in such a manner that it targeted five subgroups of the campus population, which were students, faculty, professional or administrative employees, classified employees, and residents of the family and graduate housing areas on the university. Measures were taken to promote a representative sampling of these population subgroups in order to achieve proportions similar to that, which exist in the population. Additional efforts were made in an attempt to ensure a representative sampling with respect to gender and ethnicity. Preparation of the survey instrument was based upon a substantial review of literature as well as the stated goals and objectives of the Montana State University-Bozeman Police Department. The survey instrument was hand delivered to the respondents with a purpose to obtain quantitative data, which was bias neutral. Reliability and validity were factors that influenced the use of an anonymous survey approach; an approach, which received a return rate of 75% . .The main conclusions of this study are: (I) The current use of the community-oriented policing model presents an opportunity for the University to further expand its programs and services based on needs that were identified in the survey. (2) There should be a concerted effort to increase parking patron satisfaction with this service by providing more effective consumer information about the service and its costs. (3) There is an extremely high level of confidence in University to maintain a safe and secure environment. (4) A majority of the respondents were unaware of what measures the University might employ to effectively respond to a wide range of potential disasters; population awareness is critical to disaster preparedness and emergency management. (5) Although the University has not achieved recognized staffing levels for police services based on population size and density, the University Police Department has been very effective in projecting a higher level of uniform police activity and resource allocation than they actually possess. (6) While current literature indicates that there is a significant correlation between alcohol consumption on campus and crime on campus, there is a disparity between the perceived high levels of safety and those of high levels of underage drinking. (7) Of sixteen police services functions surveyed, crime prevention, medical and alarm responses, law enforcement, security patrols, and the investigation of criminal incidents were ranked of highest concern. The recommendations based upon this study are: (I) Continued efforts should be made to more effectively market and emphasize the services to the University Police Department in order to form the partnerships which are key to the community-policing model. (2) Begin long range planning for continued growth of the University and the need to expand the size of the police department to meet realistic staffing levels for a 24-hour emergency service. (3) Develop a market strategy that effectively provides consumer information and the range of services available to the parking patron. (4) Conduct follow-up surveys that include a qualitative component.