Review and analysis of quality improvement techniques in police departments: Application for public health

William Riley, Russell Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This qualitative study reviews and analyzes quality improvement (QI) techniques in police departments as a background for assessing ways to introduce QI into public health departments. Police departments and public health departments have many elements in common. These findings provide some understanding of how public health departments can incorporate QI methods as well as learn about the potential barriers to implementing QI projects that are inherent in government agencies. The study consists of extensive interviews of informants from academic settings and police departments across the nation. The findings describe (1) the extent of QI diffusion into police departments, (2) barriers and enablers of QI diffusion in police departments, (3) a typology of QI diffusion, and (4) the metrics and incentives to promote QI in the absence of profit motives. Seven specific recommendations are made to promote the application and adoption of QI in public health: (1) implement QI as a comprehensive management approach, (2) top official involvement, (3) a broad focus on mission and vision, (4) lessons for overcoming barriers, (5) how to find resources, (6) how to integrate proven methods, and (7) how to build on existing capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Lessons for public health departments
  • Police departments
  • Quality improvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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