Date of Conferral
The Will County community supports community policing efforts and wants their law enforcement agencies to be transparent, service-orientated, and committed to their diverse neighborhoods. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore current policing methods and tactics to improve community relationships within Will County, Illinois. Six different focus group studies were completed where 33 participants completed questionnaires and follow-up, in-depth interviews were conducted to gather data on personal police experiences and perceptions. The questionnaire responses were separated into three categories including Likert-scale response questions, dichotomous (yes and no answers), and ranking police tactics by levels of importance. Nine statistically data driven tables were generated into percentage totals that created comparisons of police methods, police tactics, and issues. The main policing tactics that Will County residents expected from their policing agencies were rapid response for service and police professionalism (appearance, conduct, communication skills). The participants expected that police agencies solve major crimes (high-profile murders, assaults, robberies). The lowest ranked police tactics discovered in all 4 subcategories surveyed were aggressive enforcement efforts (even for minor offenses) and traffic enforcement. The participants demonstrated support for community policing efforts that requires law enforcement agencies to work with their neighborhoods. The results of this study can be used to create a policing culture that incorporates traditional policing efforts and combines these efforts with the newer community policing methods that are positively impacting the Will County communities.