This book helps elected and appointed government officials and citizens assess and establish standards for the efficient and effective delivery of quality services. Actual benchmarks are provided for numerous services such as libraries, parks and recreation, public works, emergency medical services, courts, animal control, risk management and public transport.


Despite an abundance of potential benchmarks for police services, their use as measuring rods for judging or comparing municipal police departments has been controversial. When headlines in the local newspaper, for instance, proclaim that the community's crime rate is below the state or national average, the police chief and other local officials are understandably proud. A low rate of crime is touted as another example of the community's high quality of life and a testimony to its competent police department. On the other hand, when local news media bemoan a community's “crime problem,” charge that police efforts are ineffective, and cite higher-than-average crime rates to substantiate their contentions, several predictable arguments against the use of crime rates invariably are raised by police officials and ...

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