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Research Questions

  1. Has the Caruth Police Institute (CPI) enhanced leadership skills of mid- and high-level Dallas Police Department (DPD) officers?
  2. Has the CPI had a credible research capacity?
  3. Has CPI affected the culture of the DPD?
  4. How financially sustainable is the CPI?

The Caruth Police Institute (CPI), funded by the Communities Foundation of Texas, was designed for the benefit of the Dallas Police Department (DPD) to create staff development courses and to bring the expertise of academic experts and business leaders to bear on complex policing problems. This report presents a three-year evaluation of the CPI, covering development of its research activities, its effect, and its sustainability. The authors conducted a series of in-depth interviews with key informants in the DPD and participants in previous CPI courses to gauge the success and impact of the program. Additionally, they used fiscal data provided by CPI staff and information about business models gained in interviews with heads of other police leadership programs to develop examples of how CPI might balance revenues and expenses in order to sustain itself.

Key Findings

The Caruth Police Institute (CPI) has been an important vehicle for enhancing leadership skills of mid- and high-level DPD officers and creating a more professional police force.

  • CPI courses have taught leadership and critical thinking skills.
  • Bonds have been forged between course participants — that they draw on when they go back to their regular duties.
  • CPI has prepared Dallas managers and to be better equipped to take advantage of technological and strategic innovations.

Even with limited staff, CPI has conducted several research projects at the request of the Dallas police chief.

  • These include evaluation of auto burglary prevention program for college campuses and a cost-benefit study of blood draws for DUI arrestees.
  • CPI's research potential is constrained by the fact that the position of research director has not been filled.

Some DPD staff have suggested that it is bringing about organizational change.

  • The CPI course for sergeants has served as a vehicle for organizational change by teaching managerial skills.
  • The chief believes that graduates perform well in new assignments and excel in problem-solving because of CPI training.

CPI is at a choice point in defining its ongoing mission and path to sustainability.

  • It can continue to keep costs low and, using endowment earnings, sustain its current efforts to train exclusively DPD officers.
  • Alternatively, it can make an investment in personnel in an effort to broaden its reputation and reach beyond the DPD to enhance its revenue base.


  • The Caruth Police Institute (CPI) could reduce spending to 80 percent of 2011 levels with inflation-level growth.
  • CPI could apply for relatively small grants with the goal of developing funding streams and regular funders.
  • CPI could seek reimbursement for Dallas Police Department enrollees from local foundations to cover the cost of administering and teaching the courses.
  • CPI could diversify the student body and expand courses and enrollment.
  • CPI could increase nondegree courses and develop distance-learning courses.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Communities Foundation of Texas and conducted in the Safety and Justice Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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