A Brief Description of the Research Study
In the study by Srinivasan, Sorrell, Brooks, Edwards, and McDougle (2013), the researchers describe quantitative methods police administrators use when evaluating current staffing to justify to government bodies the size of the patrol workforce in order to meet demands of performance benchmarks. The results can be used to estimate the size of the patrol force (Srinivasan et al., 2013). Although police forces are critical, economically challenging times have forced them to justify their expenditures (Srinivasan et al., 2013). A fully staffed police force should be able to meet the following requirements as explained by Srinivasan et al. (2013):
1. 40% of their time is spent engaging in the community
2. few numbers of cross-sector calls
3. responds to high priority calls within seven minutes
4. minimize overtime for officers
This study specifically looks at response time of the Richmond Police Department using benchmarks one through three over four-hour time periods within 24 hours, so six all together, and when these benchmarks are met, the model is shown to indirectly achieve the minimization of overtime and the number of patrol officers working (benchmark four and five) (Srinivasan et al., 2013). The following are the five benchmarks as relayed by Srinivasan et al. (2013) and it should be known minimum patrol staffing requirements were used in this simulation:
1. call arrival or the time the 911 operator records the call for service
2. officer dispatched or the time the operator dispatches an officer as soon as they are available
3. officer travels to scene or the time the officer marks themselves ‘one scene’
4. officer arrives at scene or the time an officer spends on scene
5. call is cleared or the time an officer completes their service
Data was collected for a year and it provided mathematical evidence to support the size of the patrol force needed to meet performance benchmarks (Srinivasan et al., 2013). There was an original proposal to increase the force by 60 officers and the study prevented layoffs but no new officers were hired so the solution is having officers work overtime to meet the demand (Srinivasa et al., 2013).
What makes this a Quantitative Study
Stangor (2015) describes quantitative research as descriptive research that uses formal measures of behavior designed to be subjected to statistical data. It also describes ongoing behavior in its original form (Stangor, 2015). It elicits numbers and percentages and typically answers questions starting with ‘what?’ (Barnham, 2015). In this particular study, the researches are answering a series of ‘what’ questions including what is the response time, travel time, and on scene time for officers? Considering the researchers are quantifying time, it makes the study founded in quantitative research. The data was collected using systemic methods via the computer-aided-dispatch (CAD) data to assess input distributions (Srinivasan et al., 2013) and, as explained by Stangor (2015), this collection method is associated with quantitative research.
How One Might Create a Qualitative Method
Qualitative methods describes observations in detail (Stangor, 2015). It is used when more in depth understanding of attitudes, behavior, and motivations are needed (Barnham, 2015). Descriptive narratives is a form of qualitative research (Stangor, 2015). What may be an adequate supplement to the quantitative research on why this specific department was asking for more personnel is having people who the police run on write a descriptive narrative either on scene, or after the fact, about how a delay in response time exacerbated the situation or put them more in danger. Srinivasan et al. (2015) reveals if an officer arrives on scene within seven minutes of a crime, the crime is far more likely to be solved. One of the draw backs to minimum staffing is a delay in response time. Quantitative data may show the delay but qualitative data can personalize it. It can explain things like, I was revictimized by my abuser while waiting for the police for so long, or, a rape victim left the scene waiting too long for the police to come, or the robber who broke into my home got away. This powerful testimony can go a long way in influencing goverment bodies allocating funds.
Barnham, C. (2015). Quantitative and qualitative research. International Journal of Market Research, 57(6), 837-854. doi:
Srinivasan, S., Sorrell, T., Brooks, J., Edwards, D., & McDougle, R. (2013). Workforce assessment method for an urban police
department: Using analytics to estimate patrol staffing. Emerald Publishing, 36(4), 702-718. doi: 10.1108/PIJPSM-10-2012-
Stangor, C. (2015). Research methods for the behavioral sciences (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.