Printer Friendly

Community Policing Self Assessment Tool

The Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool

Want to know how your agency is doing on community policing?

Looking for ways to measure and capture the good work your agency has done in building positive relationships with community partners?

Try the Community Policing Self-Assessment Tool, (CP-SAT)!

CP-SAT is a web-based survey that helps law enforcement agencies (LEA) measure their progress in implementing community policing. It was developed by the COPS Office in partnership with research organizations and law enforcement stakeholder groups. The CP-SAT captures information about community partnerships, problem solving, and organizational impact.

While the COPS Office no longer provides logistical support for agencies to implement the CP-SAT; we strongly encourage law enforcement agencies to implement the CP-SAT on their own or in partnership with local research organizations using the CP-SAT survey instrument.

Below you will find more detailed information about the CP-SAT tool and how it may be of use to assessing your agency’s progress in community policing.

star bullet Description
  • The CP SAT takes approximately 15 minutes per participant to complete.
  • It should be completed by sworn staff at all levels, civilian staff who work on community partnerships and/or problem solving, and representatives from community partners who are knowledgeable about the agency and how it interacts with partners.
  • Includes questions tailored for different agency stakeholder types (e.g., patrol officers, command staff, community partners).
star bullet Benefits
  • The CP-SAT will allow your agency to measure the extent to which community policing has been implemented in various units and ranks.
  • The CP-SAT allows agencies to receive feedback from community partners about the quality of their partnerships.
  • Agencies are able to enhance community policing efforts through the identification of community policing strengths and areas for improvement.
  • The CP-SAT results can help support strategic planning, identify a list of training needs, and promote the agency's community policing successes to the public and governing officials.
star bullet Modules

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

  • Community Partnerships. Collaborative partnerships between the law enforcement agency and the individuals and organizations they serve to develop solutions to problems and increase trust in police.
  • Problem Solving. The process of engaging in the proactive and systematic examination of identified problems to develop effective responses that are evaluated rigorously. This module is based on the SARA model (i.e., Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment).
  • Organizational Transformation. The alignment of organizational management, structure, personnel, and information systems to support community partnerships and proactive problem solving.
star bullet Process: How to Administer the CP-SAT in your agency
Stay tuned! Full instructions and tips on how to successfully administer the CP-SAT will be arriving soon.

star bullet 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.

star bullet Who is eligible to administer the CP-SAT?

All interested Law Enforcement Agencies are eligible to self-administer the SP-SAT. Formerly, the CP-SAT was a mandatory requirement for CHP grantees and was available to tribal LEAs on a voluntary basis. If you are an agency that would like to administer the CP-SAT, we are currently compiling an implementation guide for agencies to administer the CP-SAT on their own or with a research partner of their choice. The complete CP-SAT survey instrument and questions will be made available in the near future. Please check here or contact the COPS Office Response Center at for a status update.

star bullet 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.

star bullet How long does the survey take to complete?

The CP-SAT survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete per respondent.

star bullet Who coordinates the survey administration?

Agencies should select a key contact who will administer the CP-SAT to participants, including coordinating the pre-survey notification email from the Chief Executive and sending the initial survey invitation and at least two reminder emails 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.

star bullet 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)?
star bullet Should policy 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.

star bullet 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.
star bullet Are all responses kept confidential?
When the COPS Office provided support for the administration of the CP-SAT all results were kept confidential. However, it is now up to individual agencies the extent to which their own results will/can be kept confidential.
star bullet 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. 
star bullet 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 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 the CP-SAT Resources webpage for information on community policing resources tailored for the CP-SAT modules.
star bullet 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.
star bullet 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 (for eligible agencies) that will provide a summary of all participants' data from your agency. For agencies with fewer than five sworn staff members, see FAQ #13.
star bullet 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.
star bullet 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.
star bullet 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.
star bullet 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.

[back to top]