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COPS Resources:The Community Policing Self Assessment Tool

Community Policing Self Assessment Tool

The Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool

Introduction

The Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool (CP-SAT) is a web-based agency-wide survey that helps law enforcement agencies (LEA) measure their progress in implementing community policing. The CP-SAT confidentially captures information about community partnerships, problem solving, and organizational impact.

It is mandatory that all COPS Hiring Program (CHP) grantees administer the CP-SAT in their agency at the beginning of the grant period and at the end of the grant period. It is also available on a voluntary basis for tribal LEAs.

Description

Benefits

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Modules

The CP-SAT measures three key components of community policing:

Process for Participation

Step 1: (for CHP agencies) Agency receives an e-mail from ICF International (ICF) with their assigned CP-SAT administration period.

Step 2: Agency selects a key contact to be responsible for administering the CP-SAT to agency staff and community partners.

Step 3: Key contact emails or calls ICF (CPSAT@icfsurveys.com or 877.99.CPSAT) to confirm or schedule an administration date and to start the CP-SAT process.

Step 4: Once agency contacts ICF to agree to administration date, agency receives an email from ICF with details about CP-SAT administration (including example invitation and reminder email language, survey URL, and agency passcode).

Step 5: Agency key contact:

Step 6: Agency key contact emails survey invitation and two survey reminders to all sworn staff and appropriate civilian staff and community partners on specified dates.

Step 7: ICF tracks response rate and notifies agencies with a low response rate after two weeks of administration.

Step 8: After the three-week administration period ends, ICF generates the CP-SAT Results Report and emails the report to agency key contact and chief executive.

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Reports

Agencies receive a summary report at the end of each administration that summarizes their results and benchmark data in a user-friendly format. Participating agencies receive the CP-SAT Results Report after their 1st administration and the CP-SAT 2nd Administration Results Report after their 2nd administration.

Resources

The CP-SAT Resources webpage provides dozens of community policing resources. Agencies can use these resources to address and enhance their problem solving, partnerships, and organizational transformation efforts based on the strengths and areas for improvement identified in their agency-specific CP-SAT Results Report.

Contact Information

Email or call ICF at CPSAT@icfsurveys.com or 877.99.CPSAT (877.992.7728) with any questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the CP-SAT?
  2. Who is eligible to administer the CP-SAT?
  3. Who completes the CP-SAT survey?
  4. How long does the survey take to complete?
  5. Who coordinates the survey administration?
  6. Why is the CP-SAT required for CHP agencies?
  7. How many times is my agency required to/eligible to administer the CP-SAT?
  8. Which community partners should be included?
  9. Should policy academy recruits participate in the CP-SAT?
  10. Should volunteer staff be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
  11. Are all responses kept confidential?
  12. Is the CP-SAT offered in any languages other than English?
  13. What type of report will my agency receive upon completing the CP-SAT?
  14. Who sees my agency’s results?
  15. How can the COPS Office support my agency in areas of community policing that need improvement?
  16. As a participant completing the survey, which staff type should I select in the first question of the CP-SAT?
  17. As a participant completing the survey, will my administrator or police chief have access to my responses?
  18. As a recipient of multiple COPS Office grants, will my agency be required to take the CP-SAT more than two times?
  19. As a Sheriff’s Department, our agency’s sworn staff includes many deputies who are not involved in community policing. Should these employees be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
  20. As a jurisdiction that contracts for police services with another law enforcement agency, who should be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
  21. As an agency that provides police services for other jurisdictions through a contractual relationship, who should be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
  22. As a tribal agency, do I need to be a COPS Office grantee to administer the CP-SAT?

  1. What is the CP-SAT?
    The Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool (CP-SAT) provides law enforcement agencies with the ability to measure the extent to which they have implemented community policing initiatives and provides them direction with areas that they can further develop. The CP-SAT was developed with significant input from community policing experts and practitioners and was designed to meet scientific standards for rigor, while also being user-friendly. This tool was created based on over five years of work by COPS, ICF International, and Police Executive Research Forum and has been administered in agencies across the United States, and Puerto Rico. The CP-SAT is currently being administered by ICF International on behalf of the COPS Office.
  2. Who is eligible to administer the CP-SAT?
    The CP-SAT is a mandatory requirement for all CHP grantees starting in 2011 and is available to tribal LEAs on a voluntary basis. If you are a non-grantee agency that would like to administer the CP-SAT, we are currently exploring options and you may contact the COPS Office Response Center at askCopsRC@usdoj.gov for a status update.
  3. Who completes the CP-SAT survey?
    The survey is completed by all sworn staff, select civilian staff, and representatives from community partner organizations who are knowledgeable about the agency and how it interacts with partners and the community. Sampling guidance is available for agencies with more than 1,200 sworn staff members. For agencies with fewer than five sworn staff members, staff members are required to complete the survey together as a group. Only the civilian staff who work on problem-solving or community partnership efforts should take the CP-SAT. The CP-SAT can also be administered to community partner organizations (see FAQ #8).
  4. How long does the CP-SAT survey take to complete?
    The CP-SAT survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete per respondent.
  5. Who coordinates the survey administration?
    Each agency selects a key contact who will administer the CP-SAT to participants, including sending the initial survey invitation and at least two reminder emails. The key contact will not have access to participants survey responses. ICF will provide instructions and all survey materials to the agency’s key contact prior to their administration start date. ICF will also track survey response rate and prepare and send the CP-SAT Results Report to each agency.
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  7. Why is the CP-SAT required for CHP agencies?
    You can reference the CHP Grant Owner’s Manual grant condition, which states:
    • Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool (CP-SAT) 
      The COPS Office will require your agency to complete the Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool (CP-SAT) twice within the grant period, once at the beginning and again towards the end of your grant period.
    • Why This Condition: 
      The Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool (CP-SAT) is intended to create an objective measure of your current community policing practices. You will receive a report summarizing your agency's community policing activities, which will help you to design your strategic plan, training, and performance reporting initiatives based on your agency's community policing strengths and areas in need of additional attention. All of this is provided free of charge as a resource to manage your policing goals; it measures community policing activities and successes, but it does not capture outcome or impact indicators. Administering the CP-SAT twice during your grant period will allow your agency to compare the progress of your community policing practices and provide a tool for your administration to reflect back on your agency's accomplishments. The CP-SAT resource can be used as a long-term tool for your agency's planning and training, even after your grant period expires.
    • What You Should Do: 
      This grant condition is to make your agency aware of the CP-SAT administration requirement associated with CHP grants. The CP-SAT essentially consists of a short community policing survey which will be administered to your agency staff. The COPS Office, through a third-party provider, will conduct this survey and support the entire process, minimizing any burden on your agency personnel. Within three months after you return your signed grant award document, you will be contacted to begin the CP-SAT process.
  8. How many times is my agency required to/eligible to administer the CP-SAT? All CHP grantees are required to administer the CP-SAT in their agencies twice - within the first year and last year of their grant (see FAQ #6). All tribal agencies are eligible to administer the CP-SAT up to two times in their agencies, although each administration is optional.
  9. Which community partners should be included? Community partnerships involve collaboration, shared power, and shared decision-making with the law enforcement agency. While partners and relationships in the community can take many forms, for this assessment, it is best to include individuals/organizations who have formally agreed to work together in the pursuit of common goals. The community partner portion of the assessment asks questions such as:
    • How much does the law enforcement agency collaborate in developing shared goals for problem-solving efforts with your organization?
    • To what degree does the law enforcement agency provide sufficient resources (e.g., financial, staff time, personnel, equipment, political, and/or managerial support) to support the work of your partnership?
    • To what extent does the law enforcement agency develop relationships with community members (e.g., residents, organizations, and groups)?
  10. Should police academy recruits participate in the CP-SAT?
    No. Police academy recruits who are not serving in the field should not be invited to participate in the CP-SAT survey. All other sworn staff, including officers involved in field training, should be invited to participate in the CP-SAT.
  11. Should volunteer staff be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
    It is optional to invite unpaid staff members, sworn or non-sworn, to participate in the CP-SAT. Sworn volunteers in the field should complete the CP-SAT on an optional basis as a sworn officer, while appropriate non-sworn staff should participate in the CP-SAT as a civilian employee.
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  13. Are all responses kept confidential?
    Yes. Responses to this survey will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. There are no individual identifiers in the data and the agency will not be able to link an individual's data to their name or email address. Note that since agencies with fewer than five sworn staff will be completing and submitting only one survey, that group’s responses will be identified. Agencies of this size must complete the survey as a group, and the responses will reflect the group's perspectives, rather than that of any individual(s).
  14. Is the CP-SAT offered in any languages other than English?
    Yes. In addition to English, a Spanish language version of the CP-SAT is also available. If your agency would prefer the Spanish version of the survey, please notify ICF and they will provide your agency with Spanish distribution and reminder email language and the URL for the Spanish survey. 
  15. What type of report will my agency receive upon completing the CP-SAT?
    Each participating agency* will receive a CP-SAT Results Report, which summarizes their results in a user-friendly format and provides benchmark data from other agencies to serve as a comparison and better help with interpretation of your agency’s strengths and weaknesses. Although the report does not interpret the data collected, it allows the agency to assess the extent to which community policing has been implemented across various aspects of community policing and among units and ranks. Through the identification of community policing strengths and areas for improvement, your agency will be able to enhance its community policing efforts.  In addition to the exhibits included in the example report, each agency will be provided descriptive statistics (e.g., number of responses, mean, standard deviation) for each item on the CP-SAT to further aid in report interpretation and strategic decision making. 

    After each agency participates in the CP-SAT process a second time in the last year of their grant period (see FAQ #7), agencies will receive a CP-SAT 2nd Administration Results Report
    that displays their scores for both administrations (i.e., 1st and 2nd) to document changes in community policing activities over time, in addition to benchmark data from other agencies to serve as a comparison and better help with interpretation of your agency’s strengths and weaknesses.

    * Agencies with fewer than five sworn staff members will receive a copy of their survey responses, even though they will only submit one survey on behalf of the agency.

  16. Who sees my agency's results?
    The CP-SAT Results Report will be provided to the chief executive and CP-SAT key contact of the law enforcement agency. The executive will determine how the report is distributed in his or her agency. To maximize the benefit of the CP-SAT, we encourage you to share the results with your organization and community partners in order to congratulate them on the successes and identify strategies to enhance your delivery of community policing.

    The COPS Office will not see agency-specific CP-SAT results unless the agency chooses to share their results with the COPS Office. The CP-SAT is intended to be a useful management tool for your agency and will not negatively impact your grant or future funding opportunities with the COPS Office. This survey captures overall community policing efforts and does not assess an agency’s community policing implementation under a specific grant.
  17. How can the COPS Office support my agency in areas of community policing that need improvement?
    Your agency may contact the COPS Office Response Center at 800.421.6770 or askCOPSRC@usdoj.gov if the assessment results show the agency is low in an area of community policing. The COPS Office is well-equipped to provide your agency with various resources (e.g., knowledge products, toolkits, and/or training opportunities). Additionally, you can visit this link for information on community policing resources tailored for the CP-SAT modules.
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  19. As a participant completing the survey, which staff type should I select in the first question of the CP-SAT?
    • Line officer -- you hold a non-supervisory position in the agency.
    • First line supervisor/Middle management -- you hold a supervisory position in the agency.
    • Command staff -- you hold one of the top positions in your agency (e.g., chief).
    • Civilian staff -- you are a non-sworn staff member of the police agency.
    • Community partner -- you do not work for the police agency, but have formally agreed to work in a partnership with the agency in the pursuit of common goals.

    If you do not work for the police agency, please select "Community partner."  A community partner is an individual who has, or works for an organization that has, formally agreed to work in a partnership with a law enforcement agency in the pursuit of common goals. Community partnerships involve a two-way relationship that involves collaboration, shared power, and shared decision-making with the law enforcement agency (e.g., media, business owner, city employee in Public Works department).

    If you are a volunteer for the police agency who provides support services to the agency without monetary benefit, please select "Civilian." Services a volunteer performs typically include community outreach, telephone work, research, and other administrative tasks.

    If you are a detective or a member of a special operations unit (e.g., gang unit, SWAT, school resource officer), please select the level of sworn staff that best fits with your level in the agency. For example, please select "First-line supervisor/Middle management" if you are a supervisor, but select "Line officer" if you have a non-supervisory position in your unit.
  20. As a participant completing the survey, will my administrator or police chief have access to my responses?
    No. Responses to this survey will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. There are no individual identifiers in the data, and the agency will not be able to link an individual's data to the participant. The survey administrator and police chief will have access to the agency final report that will provide a summary of all participants' data from your agency. For agencies with fewer than five sworn staff members, see FAQ #13.
  21. As a recipient of multiple COPS Office grants, will my agency be required to take the CP-SAT more than two times?
    Agencies with multiple grants from the COPS Office will not be required to take the CP-SAT more than two times in a 5-year period. For example, if your agency has both a 2012 CHP grant and 2013 CHP grant, your agency will administer its first and second CP-SAT administrations under your 2012 CHP grant; your agency will be exempt (i.e., not required to administer) from the 2013 CHP CP-SAT administration requirement.
  22. As a Sheriff's Department, our agency's sworn staff includes many deputies who are not involved in community policing. Should these employees be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
    The COPS Office generally recommends that all sworn staff should participate in the survey. While some law enforcement functions may appear to have an unclear relationship to community policing, in fact these principles can be applied in some form to nearly every policing function. However, we have identified specific non-law enforcement functions performed by many sheriff's departments – namely court security, prisoner transport, and jail operations – that are not relevant to the activities captured through the CP-SAT. For that reason, we recommend that you do not invite sworn staff involved in those functions to participate during your agency's administration period. All other sworn staff should be invited to participate in the administration of the CP-SAT.
  23. As a jurisdiction that contracts for police services with another law enforcement agency, who should be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
    In order to avoid participant duplication, officers should participate in the CP-SAT on behalf of the agency they are assigned and represent at the time of CP-SAT administration. That is, deputies or officers who are assigned to your agency as a result of a contract with another law enforcement agency (funded by the COPS Office or through your own local funds) should be included in your sworn roster and invited to complete the CP-SAT on behalf of your agency.
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  25. As an agency that provides police services for other jurisdictions through a contractual relationship, who should be invited to participate in the CP-SAT?
    Because all deputies or officers are trained and managed by the contractor agency, it is important to include both those who are assigned specifically to a jurisdiction contracting for police services, as well as those who work generally for the contractor agency, in developing an understanding of community policing practice. Therefore, all agency personnel should be included in the CP-SAT administration process.

    However, if both a contractor and contracting agency are CHP grantees in the same funding year, deputies or officers who are contracted from your agency to serve a different municipality should be removed from your sworn roster and should not complete the CP-SAT on behalf of your agency.
  26. As a tribal agency, do I need to be a COPS Office grantee to administer the CP-SAT?
    No. All tribal LEAs, regardless of whether they are a current or former COPS Office grantee, are eligible to administer the CP-SAT up to two times in their agency on a voluntary basis.

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