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Future of Civilianization in Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
R A Breza
Date Published
46 pages
This paper examines the future of civilianization in law enforcement within the context of a literature review and a survey of police managers.
In general, the majority of police agencies have been satisfied with overall performance of nonsworn personnel. However, use of civilians requires the adoption of new management styles and procedures. Areas of challenge that must be dealt with relate to training, supervision, selection criteria, low pay, and inadequate definition of job responsibilities. A variety of emerging issues and trends (social, technological, environmental, economic, and political) will have a dramatic impact on police agencies and civilianization in the future. While civilians have traditionally been used in such positions as clerical and secretarial support, dispatch and vehicle maintenance, some agencies are using civilians in both line and administrative positions. These include such areas as computer technology, crime analysis, training, community and media relations, personnel, planning and research, psychological services, background investigation, and management of specialized services. Development of civilianization programs will require a nine-phase strategic planning process that involves problem identification and needs assessment, involvement of key individuals and teams, environmental analysis, resource analysis, identification of strategic opportunities and threats, establishment of viable alternatives, strategic decisionmaking, revision of policies and objectives, and monitoring. Charts, figures, and 18 references.