ABSTRACT. For two decades many American police departments have relentlessly driven down reported crime rates, often using technical means, aggressive street-order maintenance tactics, and huge numbers of arrests. While effective crime control still counts, recent events have highlighted the importance of paying attention as well to means, moderating policing styles, respecting constitutional rights, eliminating bias, using no more force or coercion than necessary, and engaging effectively with communities. The police profession has used narrow definitions of success emphasizing reported crime rates, arrest rates, clearance rates, and response times. Police executives need a broader range of indicators to help them gauge and manage the multiple dimensions of performance. Real success in crime control would mean spotting emerging problems early and suppressing them before they did much harm. This performance depends on vigilance, nimbleness in response, and skill. pp. 17–52
JEL codes: P17; D81

Keywords: policing; performance-measurement; risk-control; integrity; CompStat; crime-statistics

How to cite: Sparrow, Malcolm K. (2015), “Measuring Performance in a Modern Police Organization,” Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management 3(2): 17–52.

Received 16 July 2015 • Received in revised form 17 July 2015
Accepted 18 July 2015 • Available online 18 July 2015

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John F. Kennedy School of Government,
Harvard University

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