Perceptions of community policing in a small town

  • Rudy K. Prine
  • Chet Ballard
  • Deborah M. Robinson


Much of the information regarding community policing is based upon research conducted in large urban areas. In contrast, this article utilizes survey data to examine resident perceptions of community-policing practices in a small southern town. Low response rates from minority citizens, along with the negative impressions reported by minority participants, point to race as a major concern. Black respondents are less willing to trust the police, express greater dissatisfaction with the police, and grade the police significantly lower than do white participants. Interestingly, community-policing measures do not appear to enhance perceptions of the police. Suggestions for future research are offered.


Community Police Minority Participant Southern Criminal Justice Association Local Police Department Small Jurisdiction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Austin, R., & Dodge, H. (1992). Despair, distrust, and dissatisfaction among blacks and women, 1973–1987.Sociological Quarterly, 33, 579–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chambliss, W. (1994). Policing the ghetto underclass: The politics of law and law enforcement.Social Problems, 41, 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cordner, G. W., & Scarborough, K. E. (1997). Operationalizing community policing in rural America: Sense and nonsense. In Q. C. Thurman and E.F. McGarrell (Eds.),Community policing in a rural setting (pp. 9–17). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Coulter, P. (1988).Political voice. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.Google Scholar
  5. Grine, R. M. (1994). Angels in marble: Problems in stimulating community involvement in community policing.Crime and Delinquency, 40, 437–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Krannich, R. S., Greider, T., & Little, R. L. (1985). Rapid growth and fear of crime: A four community comparison.Rural Sociology, 47, 655–669.Google Scholar
  7. Maguire, E. R., Kuhns, J. B., Uchida, C. D., & Cox, S. M. (1997). Patterns of community policing in non-urban America.Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 34, 368–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. McDonald, T. D., Wood, R. A., & Pflug, M. A. (1996).Rural criminal justice. Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. McGarrell, E. F., & Thurman, Q. C. (1994).Findings from the 1993 Spokane police department employee survey: Final report. Spokane: Washington State Institute for Community-Oriented Policing.Google Scholar
  10. Murty, K., Roebuck, J., & Smith, J. (1990). The image of the police in black Atlanta communities,Journal of Police Science and Administration, 17, 250–257.Google Scholar
  11. Snipp, M. (1996). Understanding race and ethnicity in rural America.Rural Sociology, 61, 123–142.Google Scholar
  12. Thurman, Q. C., & McGarrell, D. F. (1997). Community policing in a rural setting: Innovations and organizational change. In Q. C. Thurman & E. F. McGarrell (Eds.),Community policing in a rural setting (pp. 1–7). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. U. S. Bureau of the Census. (1990).General population characteristics (Georgia). Washington, DC: U. S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  14. Walsh, W. F., Vito, G. F., Tewksbury, R., & Wilson, G. (2000). Fighting back in Bright Leaf: Community policing and drug trafficking in public housing.American Journal of Criminal Justice, 25, 79–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Weisheit, R. A., Falcone, D. N., & Wells, L. E. (1996).Crime and policing in rural and small town America. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  16. Weisheit R. A., & Kernes, S. T. (1997). Future challenges: The urbanization of rural America. In Q. C. Thurman and E. F. McGarrell (Eds.),Community policing in a rural setting (pp. 123–133). Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.Google Scholar
  17. Williams, B. (1998).Citizen’s perspectives on community policing. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  18. Zhao, J., & Thurman, Q. C. (1997). Facilitators and obstacles to community policing in a rural setting. In Q. C. Thurman and E.F. McGarrell (eds.),Community policing in a rural setting. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudy K. Prine
    • 1
  • Chet Ballard
    • 1
  • Deborah M. Robinson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal JusticeValdosta State UniversityValdosta

Personalised recommendations