Sociology Department students to distribute survey on law enforcement in city of Ellis

Fourteen students from Fort Hays State University will begin going door to door in Ellis on Monday, Nov. 2, distributing surveys on public attitudes toward local law enforcement, as well as residents preparedness in case of emergency situations. The "City of Ellis Law Enforcement Needs Assessment Survey" is a project of the sociology program of the university's Department of Sociology and Social Work. Dr. Kate McGonigal, assistant professor of sociology, is conducting the survey. She said a main focus is public attitudes in the City of Ellis toward law enforcement.

The survey is partially sponsored by the Ellis Police Department, which is picking up printing costs, but neither police nor their families will be involved in the survey, nor will they be selected to receive the survey itself."Once completed the surveys will be in my hands or in a locked file cabinet," McGonigal said, emphasizing that the survey does not ask for and does not want names and that confidentiality will be protected at every step. "The survey is totally confidential."The dates of survey distribution within the City of Ellis will be Nov. 2 to Nov. 9. Once the surveys are completed, residents are asked to place them in the sealable, pre-paid postage envelopes and place those in the mail. Envelopes are addressed to Dr. McGonigal at her FHSU address. All completed surveys should have a postmark of no later than Nov. 22 in order to be accepted.

The survey packet contains the survey, a cover letter with instructions, and a postage-paid envelope to mail the survey back to McGonigal. Only surveys mailed back in the enclosed envelope will be collected, in order to ensure confidentiality. Most of the questions will be multiple choice with several open-ended questions. Once results have been read and tabulated, she said, the survey forms will be shredded.People do not need to be home to get surveys. The packets, in bags donated by Dillon Stores, will be left hanging from doorknobs where residents are not at home when a student team comes by.

"The primary aim is to assess citizen attitudes in Ellis toward law enforcement, plus a few questions about household emergency preparedness," she said.The 14 students who will be distributing the survey come from two classes at FHSU, a sociology class taught by McGonigal and students from a Leadership Studies class taught by Christie Brungardt, instructor of leadership studies. The students will have official FHSU identification with them anytime they are in Ellis distributing the survey.

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