Chapter 6 The Police: Organization, Role, and Function
Police Organization • Police are organized in a militaristic hierarchical structure • Principles of chain of command and unity of command are operational • Personnel decisions often based on time-in-rank considerations
The Police Role • Fearless crime fighters • Always making an arrest • Most arrests are for serious felonies • Always dealing with crime • Ordinary people doing a job • Arrests average 2 per month • Most arrests are for misdemeanors • Calls dealing with crime are 5 - 20% of total
The Patrol Function • Deter crime by being visible • Maintain public order (peacekeeping) • Respond quickly to emergencies • Arrest criminals • Aid citizens in distress • Facilitate movement of people and traffic • Create a sense of safety and security
Order Maintenance or Peacekeeping • Order maintenance, or peacekeeping, accounts for the bulk of patrol activities. These functions fall on the border between criminal and non-criminal behavior. In many situations, this means the patrol officer uses his or her discretion to “handle situations” or to be problem solvers.
Does Patrol Work: The Kansas City Study • Variations in patrol techniques (normal, proactive, and reactive) had very little effect on crime and citizens’ attitudes towards the police
Can Proactive Patrol Effect Crime Rates? • It may not be the mere presence of police that deters crime, but how they approach the job • Targeting certain types of crimes for enforcement may be effective • Aggressive patrol and "crackdowns" in crime "hot spots” may help reduce criminal activity
Will Arrests Deter? • Formal police action such as arrest may have a specific deterrent function • Arrests seem to reduce the likelihood that first-time offenders will continue their activity • Some evidence suggests that an increase in arrest rate can help reduce an area’s overall crime rate
How Effective are Investigations? • Much time is spent on nonproductive work • Chances of making an arrest are most closely linked to when it was reported • 33% chance if reported in progress • 10% chance if reported 1 minute later • 5% if more than 15 minutes elapse before reporting the crime
Reasons for Investigative Inefficiencies • Too little time is spent following unsolved cases. • Sources of information must be broadly based. Victims can play a greater role as the source of important data. • Improving the effectiveness of preliminary investigations by patrol officers will help detectives.
Improving Investigative Effectiveness • Increasing the practice of giving patrol officers greater responsibility for conducting preliminary investigations at the scene of a crime • Greater emphasis on collecting physical evidence, identifying witnesses, checking departmental records, and using informants • Police managers should pay more attention to screening cases and monitoring case flow and activity with measurable productivity goals • Use of targeted investigations with direct attention to career criminals • Increase the use of available technologies
Changing Concepts of Policing • Police-Community Relations (PCR) - improving the relationships between the police and public • Team Policing - decentralized decision making so the police could easily respond to neighborhood problems • Problem-Oriented Policing - identifying and responding to long term problems
“Broken Windows Model” • Neighborhood disorder creates fear • Neighborhoods give out crime-promoting signals • Police need citizens' cooperation
Community-Oriented Policing • Problem solving is best done at the neighborhood level, not in some distant headquarters. Locally situated police working with residents are a good problem-solving team.
Innovative Neighborhood-Oriented Policing (INOP) • Decentralization of police allows problem solving to occur at the level where issues originate • Stresses shared power with local groups • Patrol officer becomes manager of own beat • Emphasizes results rather than bureaucratic details
Community-Oriented Policing: Changing the Police Role • Citizens must actively participate with police in fighting crime. Power must be shared with local groups to give way to a “bottom-up” decision-making process. • The effective police officer will be one whose skills produce well-managed communities. Therefore, training and recruitment efforts must be altered.
Problem-Oriented Policing • The core of problem-oriented policing is a proactive orientation. • Police are called upon with the community to identify particular long-term community problems that have a relationship to crime.
Hot Spots of Crime • Part of Problem-Oriented Policing • This concept concentrates on a relatively few locations that produce a significant portion of all police calls
The Challenges of Community Policing • If Community-Oriented Policing is to be successful, new strategies must be developed to deal with significant administrative problems such as: • Defining the community to which the police respond • Defining the roles of all members of the crime prevention team – police and community members • Changing how police officers are supervised • Re-orienting police values to include community-oriented policing as central to the overall police mission • Revise police training to help them become community organizers • Recruit and promote police managers who are skilled and trained in community change strategies
Overcoming Obstacles • The most professional and highly motivated officers are the ones most likely to support community policing efforts. • There is no clear-cut evidence that community policing is highly successful at reducing crime or changing the traditional values and attitudes of police officers involved in such programs. • National surveys find that police administrators still consider law enforcement their top priority.
Police Oversight: Civilian Review Boards • Oversight systems generally are organized into one of four models or a variation of one that include: • Citizens investigate allegations of police misconduct and recommend a finding to the head of the agency. • Officers investigate allegations and develop findings. Then, citizens review and recommend that the head of the agency approve or reject the findings. • Complainants may appeal findings established by the agency to citizens who review them and make recommendations to the head of the agency. • An auditor investigates the process the agency uses to accept and investigate complaints and reports to the agency and the community the thoroughness and fairness of the process.
Can Police Productivity be Improved? • Consolidation • Informal arrangements for periods of time • Sharing resources • Pooling resources • Contract services • Using more civilians • Give cops more tasks • Provide for a system of Differential Police Response (DPR)