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SOC35:How Police Agencies are Organized

by: Alexandra Long

SOC35:How Police Agencies are Organized SOC 354

Marketplace > Colorado State University > Sociology > SOC 354 > SOC35 How Police Agencies are Organized
Alexandra Long
GPA 3.76

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About this Document

These notes cover a portion of what is on Exam 1
Law Enforcement and Society
Bradley Hurst
Class Notes
Law Enforcement and Society
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandra Long on Sunday March 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 354 at Colorado State University taught by Bradley Hurst in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Law Enforcement and Society in Sociology at Colorado State University.


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Date Created: 03/27/16
HOW POLICEAGENCIESARE ORGANIZED ▯ ▯ Some “experts” say that quality of service depends upon how the organization is organized (NOPE) and managed (YES). But ***organizational charts from agency to agency are very similar, while quality of service can vary considerably. ***QUALITY=Meeting customer needs satisfactorily ***So how the agency is managed makes the biggest difference. ▯ There are two major organizational characteristics prevalent in police organizations: ▯ ***QUASI-MILITARY How they resemble the military Uniforms, rank designations, hierarchical command structure, authoritarian, weapons, use of force. ▯ How they differ from the military Serve a civilian population rather than engage a foreign enemy. Individual citizens mobilize the police. Greater expectation of police to protect rights of the “enemy.” Police use more discretion. Individual police not as closely supervised. Police act more as individuals v. military emphasizes more teamwork. ▯ ***BUREAUCRATIC Like other large organizations, such as CSU or General Motors, most police agencies are patterned after the bureaucratic model. ▯ Characteristics of bureaucratic structure Pyramid shape. Complex organizations with many tasks. Tasks grouped into separate divisions. Responsibility delegated downward. Clear chain of command. Clear unity of command. Written rules to insure consistency. 2-way (or more) information flow. Career paths. ▯1 ▯ Criticisms of Bureaucratic Model Rigid, unable to adapt. Internal communication often breaks down. Inward-looking, self-serving, isolated from customers. Stifle creativity. ▯ Positive contributions of Bureaucracy The structure makes it easier to coordinate complex activities, and leads to development of specialties. It makes it easier to control police behavior. ▯ Bureaucracies exist because that organizational format “…is the most efficient means that has been developed for organizing and directing many different activities in pursuit of a common goal.” In other words, ***we have yet to invent anything better. ▯ Most highly-effective innovations that have come along can be applied within a bureaucratic organizational structure. ▯ ▯ ***Civil Service Boards: Created by the LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Board is created by legislature and appointed by executive ***--Have authority to issue formal legally binding rulings about personnel Ex. If you are fired, you can appeal to the board and they can overturn the decision. Main drawback: make it harder for chiefs to fire bad cops ***Police Chiefs/Sheriffs are usually harder on cops in disciplinary matters than civil service boards or civilian review boards ▯2


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