Local officials satisfied with police services, but large jurisdictions say funding insufficient

A new report from the University of Michigan's Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP) presents the opinions of local government leaders on law enforcement services in their community, including perceptions of crime, satisfaction with and funding for law enforcement services, and more.

The Fall 2015 Michigan Public Policy Survey (MPPS) surveyed local government leaders from 1,418 Michigan jurisdictions (counties, cities, townships, and villages) regarding law enforcement issues in their jurisdictions. The results from the survey show that local government leaders generally express high levels of satisfaction with law enforcement provided in their jurisdiction, and also believe the citizens in their jurisdiction are satisfied with law enforcement services, if at slightly lower levels than the leaders’ own satisfaction.

The full report is available on the CLOSUP homepage: http://closup.umich.edu.

Key Findings:

Statewide, over half (54%) of local leaders statewide say drug crimes are a problem in their community, and 48% say property crimes such as burglary, vandalism, identity theft, or embezzlement are a community problem. Violent crimes and public-order offenses like drunk driving and disorderly conduct are seen as less common. Officials from the state’s larger jurisdictions are most likely to perceive all types of crime as problems in their communities.

However, satisfaction with law enforcement services is high, with local officials statewide saying they are either somewhat or very satisfied with performance of the state police (74%), county sheriffs (79%), and local police (94%) in jurisdictions that have them.

When it comes to local law enforcement services, 28% of the state’s cities, townships, and villages provide police services directly by running their own police departments, 24% contract for law enforcement services with another provider, and 48% do neither, instead relying on the county sheriff and/or state police to respond when called.

Overall, 22% of officials say that they do not have sufficient funds to meet their law enforcement needs, and this increases to 47% among the state’s largest jurisdictions.

Meanwhile, relatively few (14%) report that their jurisdictions have recently tried and succeeded to raise local funding through millages and/or special assessments, and only 33% support pursuing additional local revenues in the near future.

More detailed information is available in the report itself.

All MPPS reports are distributed to state and local government officials and other policymakers, and they are widely cited in the media (see http://closup.umich.edu/michigan-public-policy-survey/mpps-news.php).

In addition, the CLOSUP website provides detailed tables of the data collected in all of the MPPS surveys, with the Fall 2015 data now available. The data are broken down by jurisdiction type, population size, and region of the state. These easy-to-read tables allow quick analysis for a wide range of issues and can be found at: http://closup.umich.edu/michigan-public-policy-survey/

MPPS is conducted by CLOSUP in partnership with the Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan Townships Association. The survey program is unique in the country as the only ongoing survey targeted at every unit of general purpose local government across an entire state.