Advancing the Study of Police Innovation: Toward an Empirical Definition and Classification of Contemporary Police Innovations

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Police innovation is frequently referenced in the policing literature, but it is less frequently defined, applied, or operationalized by scholars. This situation has led to definitional ambiguity and variation, which limits the development of innovation as a scientific construct. We present a conceptualization of innovation and classification of innovations through exploratory factor analysis with data collected from chiefs of police. Our findings suggest that chiefs weigh newness or novelty only partially when judging innovativeness. Chiefs also appear to classify innovativeness in terms of the utility that innovations provide to organizational operations. Our findings suggest a disconnect between prior literature and practitioners in how innovation is viewed, which hampers its conceptual development in the literature.