12 Key Police Survey Questions to Ask Your Community

How to Start Community Policing

Understanding community perceptions of law enforcement has become increasingly important in recent years. Police surveys allow departments to gather crucial feedback directly from the citizens they serve. This data can be used to improve policies, strengthen community relations, and address areas of concern. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most insightful police survey questions to ask residents.

The Value of Community Surveys for Police

Conducting periodic surveys is a proactive way for police departments to check in with the public. These surveys accomplish several important goals:

  • Gauge current levels of trust and confidence in police
  • Identify specific areas where policies or practices could improve
  • Allow residents to share experiences and perspectives
  • Pinpoint community concerns or problems to address
  • Gather data to inform strategic decisions and reforms

In today’s climate, law enforcement must be responsive to the populations they serve. Surveys provide a direct line of communication and feedback. Though surveys have limits, they can illuminate areas of weakness and inform positive change.

Key Questions on Overall Perceptions

Getting a broad understanding of how citizens view local law enforcement is essential. These questions aim to measure overall opinion:

  • How much trust and confidence do you have in the police department?
  • How would you rate the job performance of the police department overall?
  • How satisfied are you with the police services in your area?
  • How responsive is the police department to community concerns?

Leaving room for open-ended feedback is also important. Follow-up questions could ask respondents to describe positive or negative encounters and interactions.

Drilling Down on Specific Areas

After gauging the big picture, surveys should drill down on specific aspects of policing. Tailor questions to focus on relevant areas like:

  • Community engagement – How often do officers engage positively with residents? Are they approachable and accessible?
  • Responsiveness – How timely are responses to calls? What factors influence responsiveness?
  • Professionalism – Do officers act respectfully and avoid excessive force? Are residents treated equitably?
  • Crime prevention – How effective are efforts to reduce crime and increase safety? Which areas need more attention?
  • Accountability – Are there appropriate oversight and consequences for misconduct? How could accountability improve?

Asking nuanced questions across all facets of policing reveals strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.

Getting Demographic Insights

Understanding if perceptions vary across demographics is also very valuable. Consider gathering data on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Neighborhood of residence
  • Income level
  • Languages spoken

This data can reveal disparities in how different groups experience and interact with police. Departments can use insights to improve relations with marginalized communities.

Optimizing Future Performance

The end goal of any community survey is driving positive change. Conclude by asking:

  • What could police do to improve relationships with residents?
  • What existing policies or practices are most concerning?
  • What suggestions do you have to enhance service and responsiveness?

Listen to the priorities and needs expressed directly by the community. Then use these valuable insights to inform reform, training, and policy decisions.

Here are some police survey questions:

Overall Perceptions

  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how much trust do you have in the local police department?
  • How satisfied are you with the job the police are doing in your neighborhood? Very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, neutral, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied.
  • How responsive have you found police officers to be when responding to calls or concerns in your area? Extremely responsive, moderately responsive, slightly responsive, not responsive at all.

Community Engagement

  • How often have you had casual, positive interactions with police officers in your area? Frequently, occasionally, rarely, never.
  • Do you feel that police make an effort to engage with all segments of the local community? Strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree.

Professionalism and Conduct

  • Have you ever witnessed or experienced unprofessional conduct by a police officer in your community? If yes, please describe the situation.
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how confident are you that police officers avoid excessive force when possible?

Suggestions for Improvement

  • What could the police department do to improve relationships between officers and citizens?
  • Do you have any suggestions to improve police services or responsiveness? If so, please explain.

Demographic Questions

  • What is your age?
  • What is your gender?
  • What neighborhood do you live in?
  • What is your race or ethnicity?


Police departments that regularly survey residents demonstrate a commitment to transparency, accountability, and community relations. While law enforcement faces many challenges today, proactively engaging the public using surveys can guide important improvements. Carefully crafted police surveys allow departments to identify areas of weakness, strengthen public trust, and build partnerships.

To begin, schedule your free demo and discover how Officer Survey can assist your agency.

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