Purpose – The purpose of this research is to compare traditional and community policing agencies with regard to how individual officers are formally evaluated and to assess organizational goals and objectives in each type of agency. Design/methodology/approach – A 75‐item questionnaire was mailed to 600 municipal and county law enforcement agencies. A total of 11 hypotheses were tested regarding performance evaluation content, the values of police supervisors and organizational objectives. Findings – Community policing agencies have added new output measures but continue to value enforcement statistics as much as their more traditional counterparts. Additionally, many community policing agencies have not updated their formal systems to incorporate community policing concepts. Research limitations/implications – Survey responses were obtained from only one supervisor per agency and the knowledge of each individual was varied. However, if supervisors from traditional and community policing agencies are equally competent, results should be unbiased. Further research is needed to assess the reasons why many agencies have not updated their formal evaluation systems to incorporate community policing concepts. Practical implications – There may be a conflict between police supervisor values and formal evaluation procedures in many community policing agencies. Further assistance or guidance may be needed to aid police administrators in updating and improving their formal systems of officer performance evaluation. Originality/value – This is the first nationwide assessment of police officer performance evaluation during the community policing era.
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