The first examination of linkages between interlocal cooperation and performance indicators, this study goes to the heart of the debate between proponents of municipal consolidation and proponents of polycentric arrangements. Can dozens of separate police departments in a metropolitan area, the author asks, provide a high quality of service while relying on voluntary cooperation? His answer for the municipal police departments in the St. Louis metropolitan area is generally affirmative.
After studying all available printed material on how police cooperation in Greater St. Louis is supposed to work, Dr. McDavid secured descriptions of actual practice from police officers ranging from patrolmen to district captains. His study also includes measures of performance based on interviews with 2,000 residents of the various municipalities and the police officers serving them. His findings are reported in detail, as is his methodology.
Two case studies of voluntary cooperation in action complement the quantitative cross-sectional analysis. One deals with the development of an area-wide Major Case Squad and focuses on a murder hold-up solved cooperatively. The other traces the development of the Board of Governors, a voluntary policy-coordinating organization.
The book's introduction relates the Greater St. Louis experience to studies of police in eighty metropolitan areas conducted by Indiana University and the University of North Carolina. The conclusion places Dr. McDavid's study in perspective, linking it to a nationwide effort to analyze and design institutional arrangements for the production of public services.
About the Author
James C. McDavid is co-author of a book, Applied Program Evaluation in Local Government, and author of articles in Publius, Journal of Criminal Justice, and International Journal of Public Administration. He received a BA and MS at Alberta, where he was awarded a Canada Council Fellowship and an MA and PhD at Indiana. He is a member of the faculty of Penn State's Institute of Public Administration.