Basic Correctional Officer Academy
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Bridging the Gap: City Police and the University Population of Charleston, Illinois
|Page||67||Total Pages 8|
|Author(s)||Field Operations Commander Thomas E. Engells|
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|Abstract||A survey of published research shows that several factors in rural communities with large university campuses present special challenges in planning for community policing. A study by Cordner, Marenin, & Murphy (1986) revealed that students tend to view police more negatively than campus faculty do. Over 20 research projects compiled by Brown and Benedict in 2002 confirm that young people generally perceive police officers more negatively than older people do (p. 554). To compound the problem, some research shows that a higher level of education correlates with a more negative view of the police (Weitzer & Tuch, 1999), as does a higher level of wealth and status (Huang & Vaughn, 1996). Studies, such as the one done by Smith, Graham, and Adams (1991) show that direct contact with police strongly influences the perception that an individual has of the police; therefore, it may be possible to adopt policies that will improve these points of contact and have a positive influence on the broader perception of the local police department. The economy of Charleston, Illinois, is largely dependent upon Eastern Illinois University (EIU), a comprehensive public institution with a student population of 11,000. Given this, a survey of the university population is essential in determining the success of community policing in Charleston. An earlier survey of the area dealt only with nonstudent residents of Charleston (Benedict, Bower, Brown, & Cunningham, 1999). The study by Benedict et al. was conducted because studies have shown that surveys of local communities can be a viable tool in planning an effective community policing program. It was noted by Cochran, Bromley, & Swando (2002) that successful outcomes are more likely if planners use input from the community to set the tone and parameters of the solutions developed in community policing (p. 507). Establishing a well-supported community policing program can enhance communication between the public and the police and modify public behavior in a positive direction (Diamond & Lobitz, 1973, p. 105). Brown and Benedict reached the well-supported conclusion, after a thorough review of the available research, that the advantages of using community policing techniques include the improvement of crime control if police are viewed more positively within the community (2002, p. 545).|