Project #71858 - 1-2 page review in criminal justice

For week 1, discussion 2 you will select, from our readings, any topic you found interesting and/or important and present it to the class. Using critical thinking skills briefly discuss why you picked it, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of your topic.

Module 2: Creating and Managing the Police Organization


  1. The "Military" in "Para-Military"
  2. The Police Mission
  3. Defining Agency Goals and Objectives
  4. Police Management
  5. Managing in an Era of Terrorism
  6. Conclusion

Once the structure of a police organization is determined and the organization is staffed (with both sworn- and non-sworn employees), how do administrators ensure that tasks are accomplished and personnel are held accountable? Leadership, supervision, and managerial strategies are critical to the survival of the police organization. Should the police be considered as one among several local government agencies and use the theories, processes, and strategies common to any successful organization, association, or agency? Or does the nature and function of a police organization require it to have its own managerial strategies?

I. The "Military" in "Para-Military"

Looking back on the English foundations of American policing, we cross the Atlantic to London, England. Sir Robert Peele, Charles Rowan, and Robert Mayne were co-superintendents of the fledgling Metropolitan Police of London, organized in 1829. Whereas Peele was a civilian, Rowan was a former military officer, and it is Rowan's influence that we see in today's police agencies, specifically state, local, and municipal. For example, the jackets worn by the English military were red; to distinguish the police from the military, blue jackets were chosen for the police. The military influence was not limited to the use and style of uniforms, it also affected the structure of the force.

In London in the early 1800s, the military and the Church of England were the only large-scale organizations, and were organized on a similar basis. Both organizations were centralized, with a few people at the top who held most of the power and made most of the decisions (Cordner & Sheehan, 1999). Each organization also had a system of graded authority. For example, in the military, generals had full authority, colonels and majors had a little less, captains and lieutenants still less. Sergeants had only enough power to direct their privates, and privates had no authority at all. The same general system was used within the Church of England, albeit with differing titles and functions.

Taking cues from the two examples of large-scale organizations before them, and with the assistance of Rowan, it was natural that the London Metropolitan Police would emulate the administrative models of the Church of England and the military. Characteristics common to both models included:

  • centralized organization
  • graded authority
  • selective and stringent personnel standards

It is one thing to select an organization model, but quite another to implement it. Peele and his co-superintendents quickly hired 1,000 men, and were immediately faced with the task of establishing expectations for and of them (a task very much still performed by modern police chiefs) (Cordner & Sheehan, 1999, p.4). To accomplish this, the following principles were used:

The resulting police organization is often referred to as being paramilitary or quasi-military. Perhaps the question needs to be asked whether this is good or bad, particularly as it relates to the community to be served. Modern police have also been referred to as a domestic army. If, then, the police constitute an army, with whom does this army do battle? The criminal element within the community? The community itself? Not a comforting thought in an era of community policing.

"Us" and "Them"

This militaristic way of thinking also affects how people within the department are perceived. Non-sworn employees are "civilians." Civilian employees are viewed differently from sworn employees. As often happens in communities, an "us-versus-them" mentality also exists inside some police departments. Traditionally, civilian employees are not considered part of the "police family." When discussing positions, there is the uniform or sworn strength and then there are—well, the civilians. Whenever reports or statistics are viewed, the number of personnel always represents the sworn employees, unless there is a notation that advises that non-sworn or civilian positions have been included, which is infrequent. When budget requests are made for additional personnel, it is almost always concerned exclusively with the police (i.e., the sworn employees) rather than with the police and non-police or support personnel.

This military orientation often sets the police apart from the community and the rest of the local government (if that is the governmental structure in which it is located), and has created a cottage industry of books on police management or police administration. However, when leafing through these texts, one sees concepts and theories familiar to business administration or the management or leadership of any organization or association.

Police agencies believe themselves to be different from other governmental agencies, and they are, in terms of the services they provide. Yet, when it comes to organizing, managing, and leading, the concepts used in the rest of the business world are just as applicable to police agencies. The theories, concepts, organizational structures, perks, and decoration that serve to further widen the gap between the police and those they serve need to be given a realistic reassessment. (This topic is discussed further in section IV of this module.)

In the past ten or so years, police administrators have come to the realization that police training is actually within the realm of adult education—not police education, but adult education. Although police training always has been a form of adult education, policing had been slow to adopt the theories and concepts associated with it. Police officers are now being viewed as adult learners, some police academies are viewed as institutions of higher learning, and adult learning theories and principles have been added to some academy instruction. Change has been slow in coming; however, there has been movement.

II. The Police Mission

A Conversation about Policing 
Think About This: What is the Police Mission?

"We need to reorganize," began the chief of police. "Times are changing, priorities are changing, and more and more requirements are being placed on the department. We need to determine whether or not our structure is effective and whether our functions are what they should be, particularly with the threat of terrorism."

"To determine what the organization should look like, how it should be organized and structured, we first need to know what you consider your core business to be," replied the consultant.

"Core business? This isn't a business. This is a police department. We're a part of government," responded the chief.

"That may be true," offered the consultant. "However, I still need to know why your organization exists, and what it is supposed to accomplish—that's your core business."

"We're the police. We're here because society wants its laws followed and wants us to prevent crime and apprehend those who break the law," stated the chief.

"Is that all you do?" asked the consultant.

"No," replied the chief, "we do any number of things."

"That's what I thought," replied the consultant. "What is your core business?"

"To serve and protect," answered the chief.

"And what does that mean?" questioned the consultant.

Policing is part of a system, and understanding the "systems" approach to police administration is critical in determining why the organization exists and what it is supposed to accomplish. The systems approach emphasizes an interrelatedness among people, organizations, processes, and the larger society in which they all exist. When assessing police agencies and their role in society, it is important to recognize that they are part of a system and that other parts of that system affect how and why they operate.

Police agencies, like all "systems" are created for some reason—they are meant to accomplish some purpose and in some cases, many purposes. These purposes guide the development of strategies, tactics, programs, tasks, policies, procedures, and rules which, in turn, guide the behavior of people in the organization.

In police agencies, the mission is the generally accepted statement of purpose. The mission expresses what is important to the agency and what it values, and guides the agency's overall philosophy. The function of the mission is to "focus on the purpose of the organization, to call attention to what is important, and to set organizational goals to align with values (Cordner & Sheehan, 1999, p.48)."

Some police department mission statements are long and involved; others are short, perhaps so they can be remembered. Not all police departments have the same mission statement and nor should they be expected to. Remember, police departments are part of a system and other parts of the system affect it. Communities (another part of the system) differ and their needs may (or perhaps should) dictate the mission of their respective police departments.

Some examples of mission statements are given below (Cordner & Sheehan, 1999, p. 48):

  • Portland, Oregon: The mission of the Portland Police Bureau is to work with all citizens to preserve life, maintain human rights, protect property, and promote individual responsibility, and community involvement.

  • Houston Texas: The mission of the Houston Police Department is to enhance the quality of life in the City of Houston by working cooperatively with the public and within the framework of the United States Constitution to enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment.

  • Madison, Wisconsin: We believe in the dignity and worth of all people. We are committed to: providing high-quality, community-oriented police services with sensitivity; protecting constitutional rights; problem-solving; teamwork; openness; continuous improvement; and providing leadership to the police profession. We are proud of the diversity of our workforce which permits us to grow and which respects each of us as individuals and we strive for a healthful workplace.

Although these are only three mission statements, you should notice that something is missing from each: there is no mention of the prevention of crime. While there are many departments that do include the prevention of crime in their mission statements, others do not. Consider this 1996 statement from renowned researcher and criminal justice authority David H. Bayley (1996, p. 3):

The police do not prevent crime. This is one of the best kept secrets of modern life. Experts know it, the police know it, but the public does not know it. Yet the police pretend that they are society's best defense against crime and continually argue that if they are given more resources, especially personnel, they will be able to protect communities against crime. This is a myth.

Although there are people within the criminal justice field who would disagree with this statement (Bayley himself has since adopted a different view), there are many others who would agree. The prevention of crime is an absolute. If you look up prevent in a dictionary, you'll find definitions such as, "to keep from happening," "to avert," and "to thwart." At times, the police can reduce the occurrence of certain types of crime in that they, through directed tactics, displace crime.

Crime prevention is fairly new to the police. The police have traditionally been prosecution-oriented. They gauged their success on clearing crimes by arrest. Except for some patrol activities aimed at deterrence, the police have historically placed little emphasis on crime prevention (Cordner & Sheehan, 1999). It has been said that crime is the price you pay for living in a democratic society.

In discussing the police role in crime prevention, it is recognized that the police are limited in what they can do to control or prevent crime. There are too many factors that breed crime over which the police have no control, such as poverty, lack of employment, lack of education, bad housing, poor health care, discrimination, and child neglect.

When assessing community policing (to be discussed in module 4), Goldstein (1979) advocated that the police move away from law enforcement or crime fighting as the primary function. Proponents of community policing propose that the police have a much broader function, one that incorporates fear reduction and order maintenance. These two components become the primary goals for the police department, supplanting crime reduction (Trojanowicz, Kappeler, & Gaines, 2002). This change in police philosophy emanates from two general directions.

  1. Research examining police operations and crime statistics point out that police have not been totally effective in combating crime. The police can, at best, only manage and document most crime.

  2. Fear has a far greater debilitating effect on a community or individuals than do crime rates. Police-sponsored fear-reduction programs have the potential to yield positive results in a number of areas (Trojanowicz, Kappeler, & Gaines, 2002).

It is no coincidence then that, in consideration of what research and practical experience have revealed in combination with an increased emphasis on community policing, crime prevention is absent from many mission statements.

III. Defining Agency Goals and Objectives

Once the mission has been defined (without the mention of crime prevention) the next step is to define goals and objectives. These must be consistent with the mission. The number and variety of goals and objectives that an agency could adopt is endless. Regardless of the number of goals and objectives, they must require specific results or achievements toward which the agency directs its efforts. These goals and objectives are benchmarks against which the agency's effectiveness can be measured;  they are the raison d'être for the existence of the police agency (Etzioni, 1964).

The three primary goals for any police department are:

  1. to protect life
  2. to protect property
  3. to maintain order

There are also seven primary objectives toward which police activities are directed in order to meet the primary goals:

  1. prevent and control conduct widely recognized as threatening to life and property (remember the discussion about crime prevention);
  2. aid individuals who are in danger of physical harm;
  3. protect constitutional guarantees;
  4. facilitate the movement of people and vehicles;
  5. resolve conflict;
  6. identify problems that have the potential for becoming more serious; and
  7. create and maintain a feeling of security in the community (Goldstein, 1977).

People are hired, trained, managed, and assigned; agencies are organized; and budgets are developed (to name a few activities) to ensure that to the degree possible, these goals and objectives will be accomplished.

Determining the mission, goals, and objectives of a police agency is a daunting task. Agencies all over the country undergo yearly, bi-annual, or five-year planning sessions to determine what they will do, how they will do it, and how to measure what they do. The mission, goals, and objectives are part of the broader administrative tasks necessary to run a police agency. The best way to understand how police departments are administered is to identify the activities associated with administration. Gulick (1937) outlined administrative responsibilities using the acronym POSDCORB, which means:

  1. Planning: the determination of what is to be accomplished (goals) and how it is to be accomplished.

  2. Organizing: the application of organizational principles in determining the department's formal organization, including chain of command, job specialization, and how various units are coordinated.

  3. Staffing: the personnel function, particularly focusing on recruitment, training, placement, and promotion of competent, qualified candidates.

  4. Directing: where managers provide direction to employees in terms of policies and orders.

  5. Coordinating: the task of interrelating the numerous component units within the organization to ensure goal accomplishment.

  6. Reporting: the task of keeping everyone informed regarding operations, through verbal and written directives, records, and inspection.

  7. Budgeting: the task of fiscal planning, accounting, and control to ensure the department has the resources necessary to pursue goals and objectives.

These activities are applicable to the administration and management of any number of organizations, not just the police.

IV. Police Management

Does policing need a separate system of management? The answer is probably "no." At times, however, it seems as if policing wants to operate with its own system of management. Although the goals, objectives, and activities of a police agency are different from other organizations (the argument can be used by any organization), the theories that undergird police management are the same as for any other agency. It is the application of these theories that may be different because of policing's role in society.

Rather than go into a detailed explanation of each theory, a few theories will be outlined. There is a caveat here. At one time or another, all the listed theories and approaches have been tried by some police agency, often with great fanfare. Too often, it is the "flavor of the month," the newest approach, the newest theory that is rolled out and resources expended to make it the management philosophy of the organization. Instituting or changing the way a police organization manages is a delicate operation and should not be modified haphazardly. Constant and frequent changes will only serve to frustrate some employees and create false expectations for others.

Here are just a few theories to consider:

V. Managing in an Era of Terrorism

Policing is a combination of tasks and responsibilities that are constantly changing. In the current era of terrorism, police agencies are finding their resources and frequently overspent budgets stretched even more. There are no easy solutions.

Those who lead police agencies must be able to project into the future and anticipate needs and societal directions. Who would have predicted that federal law-enforcement agencies would be transferred out of the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice and into a new Department of Homeland Security? Is this a temporary transfer or a permanent reorganization? The answer remains to be seen.

Policing plays a critical role in maintaining the security and safety of American society. Until recently, however, that has not been its major focus. How organizations are structured, managed, and led have a direct impact on the level and quality of services provided to the American public. As public needs have changed, so are the structure, management, and leadership of police organizations affected.

In 1986, William Tafoya, a now-retired FBI agent, completed research for his doctoral thesis from the University of Maryland, College Park. He called together law-enforcement practitioners from around the country and asked them to project themselves into the future and hypothesize on the types of problems and issues that would face police agencies in the 1990s. Based on his findings, Tafoya predicted that by 1995, America would experience domestic terrorism the likes of which this country had never seen. He also reported that computer crime would complicate how investigations would be conducted and that there was a need to assess the issue from an international perspective. Finally, he predicted that computer technology would so far outpace the skills of police officers that they would be reduced to merely taking reports (Tafoya, 1986).

Unfortunately, many of these predictions have become reality, and policing has arguably been caught flat-footed. Many in policing considered Tafoya's research an academic exercise. His "predictions," however, could have formed the basis of a higher level of preparedness, particularly with respect to domestic terrorism. It can never be shown that such preparedness would have prevented tragedies such as the Murrah Building bombing or the destruction and loss of lives at the Pentagon and the World Trade Center; rather, our point is that police agencies might have been better prepared to respond to such incidents.

Policing must open its closed system and recognize that in order to function successfully in today's environment and culture, it needs information and data inputs from sources other than police. Policing is part of a larger, global society. It must recognize its ever-expanding and important role and constantly seek ways to prepare for and adapt to the changing times.

VI. Conclusion

As you can see, organizing, managing, and leading a police agency is a difficult task. It is made even more difficult when the mission is blurred between what the department actually does or can do and what the public believes it can or should do. Focusing on the prevention of crime has been shown to be fraught with difficulties. However, admitting that the police have little direct impact in its prevention may be detrimental to the public image of police.

Policing and police administration is complicated. There are internal and external issues to be considered and at times the police manager can find himself pulled in many directions. Residents are demanding to know what they are getting in exchange for the taxes they pay to fund the police. Acts of terrorism are placing more demands on police personnel.

The successful police leader will be able to organize and manage the police department and its resources so that the best service is provided to the community served and so that future problems or issues can be anticipated and plans developed to resolve them. This leader will also be able to create an environment where personnel voluntarily commit to providing the best service. It is difficult to lead, however, if no one is following.

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