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The purpose of this study is to compare a specialized community-oriented policing (COP) unit to a reactive unit on officer perceptions of public contact and officer perceptions of job performance. We also compare bicycle patrol officers to motor vehicle patrol officers within these units. Using a static group comparison design, questionnaires were distributed to officers within the Toronto Police Service (n = 178). Bicycle patrol is associated with more contacts with the public and higher rates of proactive policing when compared to motor vehicle patrol and bicycle officers are more likely to rate higher on several measures of crime control. Officers with a COP mandate engage with the public for a wider variety of reasons compared to those with a reactive mandate, and are more likely to rate higher on perceptions of performing job duties in a procedurally just manner. This study demonstrates the value of a specialized COP unit that includes bicycle patrol in achieving tenets of COP. It contributes to the literature on COP and the use of bicycle patrol in law enforcement by presenting the perspective of the police officer.


This work was originally published in Police Practice and Research: An International Journal,, available at DOI: 10.1080/15614263.2017.1364998.

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