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Organizational Response to Civil Disorder

NCJ Number
P S Kronenberg
Date Published
82 pages
This exploratory study examined the responses by various public organizations in Indiana to the threat or reality of civil disorder. A pattern of organizational response to such threat was then determined.
Specific areas studied included organizational planning, training and personnel procedures, operational decisionmaking, and interorganizational behavior. Data were collected from four Indiana cities in 1969. Each city had experienced one or more civil disorders in the past 5 years. Data sources included organizations' documents, Federal documents, newspaper articles, and semistructured field interviews of over 110 public officials and other persons. Results indicated that, in the cities studied, little detailed planning had occurred for responses to civil disorders, especially in agencies other than police departments. Cooperative planning activities among local agencies were limited in scope and frequency, in part because each agency was preoccupied with its autonomy. Agencies placed much more emphasis on control of disturbances than on preventing them. Although all new police received some direct training for handling civil disorders, direct training was almost nonexistent in other agencies. All agencies provided indirect training, and police training usually included instruction on police-community relations. Each city had a special unit for use in serious disorders. Mayors tended to assume command during a disorder, while the police were the main action forces. Police also served as the coordinating point for other agencies. Operational problems included command limitations, operational coordination, and the need to control the officials' use of force. The State's role was mainly as a response force of last resort. The training of State response forces was essentially military training. Minor disorders would be handled by State police; major disorders by the Indiana National Guard. Leadership problems included time lags, lack of team cohesion in National Guard units, and coordination problems. Descriptions of the cities studied and their civil disturbances and appendixes listing persons interviewed and presenting the interview schedules are included.