Cjus 801- discussion forum 2-reply 2 | CJUS 801 – Criminal Justice Program Evaluation | Liberty University

Reply must be at least 200-300 words. For each thread, you must support your assertions with at least 2 citations from sources such as your textbook, peer-reviewed journal articles, and the Bible. 

Textbook: Vito, G. F., & Higgins, G. E. (2015). Practical program evaluation for criminal justice. Waltham, MA: Elsevier. ISBN: 9781455777709.


My Chosen Anticrime/Prevention Program

            Throughout this course, I will be examining and evaluating Citizen Police Academies as crime prevention programs for law enforcement agencies.  Citizen Police Academies are a way for law enforcement agencies to directly engage the communities they serve by breaking down some of the barriers that exist which can make citizens apprehensive in cooperating with law enforcement.  Many large jurisdictions are made up of various segments of society that have experienced negative results or trust with local law enforcement.  Through a better understanding of what law enforcement is trained to do and how that training is conducted, communities and law enforcement can build a trust and cooperation between them.  

            An article written by Schafer and Bonello (2001) for Police Quarterly, discussed the implementation of Citizen Police Academies over the past twenty years, their approach to improving community relations, educating the public, and furthering the implementation of community policing strategies.  Even with the widespread use of Citizen Police Academies, there has been little empirical research conducted on their evaluation.  The article looked at the impact of a Citizen Police Academy for the Lansing, Michigan Police Department.  The Lansing Police Department had experienced a reluctance from its citizens to establish a cooperative relationship or improve the conditions of the community.  With the many citizen interactions, it became clear that the community did not understand the police department’s motivation behind their actions, procedures, and decisions.  The Citizen Police Academy offered a 10-week (one night per week) consisting of 30 hours of instruction and hands-on training.  

            The police department provided a confidential survey instrument to every graduate of the Citizen Police Academy which included both closed and open-ended questions to measure changes in their attitude and behavior.  An initial 129 surveys were sent and 92 were returned with usable information from 68 females and 24 males.  When evaluating the results, the methodological design was considered.  This was data received from a single Citizen Police Academy program and related to its body of knowledge and retrospective nature.  The analysis was based on the participation of the citizens rather than the academy program itself.  This allowed for the observation to be made on the effects of the program on the participants and the degree in which the Lansing Police Department was meeting its goals.

            The results of the surveys indicated that the citizen participants found their experience positive and highly informative.  Citizen perceptions of the department were improved, even with those that already held a positive attitude toward the department.  Approximately half of the participants changed their views on police use of force and policing as an occupation.  Sixty-seven percent of the participants had a change in their overall view of the department.  Of those who entered the Citizen Police Academy with a negative view of the department, 80% had changed their view to positive or very positive.  

The Lansing Police Department had three goals for the Citizen Police Academy: 1) Understanding of the Department and Police Work 2) Evaluating Media Reports 3) Willingness to Work with the Department.  Findings indicated the department was generally meeting achieving these three goals since the participants gained an understanding of the department’s workings and the complexity of police work.  The results also indicate the success may also be a result of the participants since the majority of those who graduated already possessed a positive attitude toward the department.  Although the program strengthened their positive views, very few citizens entered the Citizen Police Academy with a negative view of the department.  In addition, many of the participants were already volunteering their time to help support department-initiated crime prevention and community safety initiatives.  Even if these citizens had not participated in the academy, it is probable that they would continue to hold a positive view of the department and continue to volunteer their time.  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2. KJV).