The Effectiveness of External Assessments in Facilitating Organizational Change in Law Enforcement

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Police departments across the USA have been challenged in their efforts toward broad implementation of community policing. This paper examines the level of change at five law enforcement agencies in the western USA. The changes at these agencies were precipitated by an independent, external, on-site assessment of each department conducted by the Western Regional Institute for Community Oriented Public Safety (WRICOPS), one of 28 regional community policing institutes funded by the US Department of Justice's COPS Office. The nature of the on-site assessment is discussed, along with reasons as to why the process tends to promote rather significant organizational changes in some law enforcement agencies, but only cursory changes in others.