Panel Survey Report

The Justice Innovation Center (JIC) conducted a feasibility study on developing a panel of small, rural, tribal, and border (SRTB) criminal justice system agencies (including law enforcement, courts, and institutional and community corrections) to quickly perform short monthly surveys about trending topics. The JIC survey panel would send out a short questionnaire each month to representatives of these agencies to collect rapid feedback about what technology is being used in the field, how and why it was selected, the challenges and barriers departments face when using it, and where it is viewed as effective. Quick access to a representative panel from local law enforcement and jails would be very useful in understanding how to most effectively support these agencies.

A survey panel would meet several objectives:

  1. get timely information and feedback about technology needs in SRTB agencies
  2. conduct quick market surveys of technology use across SRTB agencies
  3. identify trends in operational challenges and technology use in SRTB agencies
  4. provide a mechanism for National Institute of Justice grantees to access a representative sample of SRTB law enforcement, court systems, jails, and community corrections agencies for other projects, thus increasing SRTB representation in research.

To determine whether this idea is feasible, the JIC conducted several tasks across multiple phases. First, we used a convenience sample of agencies that we had interviewed for a previous assessment of SRTB technology needs to conduct a few months of surveys. Next, we developed and tested an online platform to collect and analyze data. Finally, we conducted an experiment to compare different recruitment methods to inform our future panel enrollment efforts. This report summarizes each of these research activities and provides an assessment of future directions for a survey panel.