Date of Conferral





Human Services


Elaine Spaulding


The majority of police departments across the United States are led by part-time police leaders who are expected to provide high quality public safety and policing services. Research results have not been conclusive on best practices for community policing in larger cities, and the community policing model has not been researched for small police organizations staffed by part-time police leaders and police officers. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore the community policing experiences of 12 part-time police leaders in a northeastern U.S. state. Ecological theory provided the conceptual framework. The research questions examined the participants' experiences of community policing in rural communities. The data analysis strategies included reading the transcripts from the taped interviews, reading the field notes, and writing preliminary memos to form and understand the data. Open coding was used initially to organize the data, which were assigned labels and grouped into themes or categories. Content analysis resulted in the development of broader themes that were analyzed using a cross-case comparison for each. Results suggested that all of the police leaders believed that they provided services to the community and faced many of the same issues as full-time police leaders, despite having fewer resources. This study may help to address the problems that part-time police leaders experience in balancing the allocation of limited resources and the establishment of public policy regarding policing best practices. The study provides police and community leaders with a better understanding of the resources needed to ensure adequate policing and public safety services for their communities.