Focus Groups

Conducting focus groups is a particular ILJ specialty area. A key component of many strategic planning efforts, focus groups are also a valuable tool in and of themselves to collect information from targeted individuals about very specific issues. ILJ has conducted focus groups for many federal government agencies, local police departments, and community based organizations and groups. ILJ’s comprehensive approach to conducting focus groups includes goal clarification, instrument development, outreach to participants, training of on-site staff as necessary, focus group facilitation, and development of detailed reports and recommendations.

Past Projects

Review of Crime Control and Use of Force by the Fort Meyers, Florida Police Department

For the Fort Myers Police Department, ILJ conducted a selected review of use of force policies, practices, and crime control approaches. Key tasks included examining the police department’s use of force policies and practices including training in the use of force; assessing crime control issues and programs focused on high crime areas; and conducting focus group meetings with police supervisors and residents living in or having interests in the focus area.

Portland, Oregon, Future Plan for Community Policing

The City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau have been recognized nationally for their leadership in community policing. ILJ was selected to help the Bureau "take community policing to the next level in the 21st Century." Over a three-month period, ILJ facilitated 42 separate focus groups, which included nearly 470 participants. These participants represented all ranks and functions in the Bureau; other city agencies; public officials; business; groups representing the diversity of populations in Portland; national experts; police officials from other jurisdictions; and many others. In addition, the work included review of extensive background materials, including existing strategic plans, recent community and employee surveys, crime and workload statistics, demographic data, and other reports and materials. In addition to a comprehensive future plan for policing services in the city, study products included separate reports on each category of focus group and a special report on demographic trends in the Portland metro area.

Tucson, Arizona, Policing Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan

ILJ helped the City of Tucson and the Tucson Police Department (1) gain a more precise understanding of the needs and expectations of both citizens and department members, and (2) develop a strategic plan that meets those needs and expectations. The work included

  • Community ascertainment to more clearly define citizens' needs and expectations for police and other municipal services, using focus groups and other techniques designed to include a broad, representative cross-section of the community;
  • Survey of police department members to measure internal needs and correlate those needs to those of the community;
  • Documentation of the results of these efforts in a comprehensive report; and
  • Work with the police department to create a five year strategic plan covering all aspects of its operation and future growth.

Sample Publications and Products

Focus group reports are confidential. Please contact Ed Connors at ILJ for more information: .

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