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Police Organization Continuity and Change: Into the Twenty-First Century (From Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, V 39, P 55-144, 2010, Michael Tonry, ed. - See NCJ-242292)

NCJ Number
Stephen D. Mastrofski; James J. Willis
Date Published
90 pages
This essay discusses changes within police organizations.
American policing demonstrates both continuity and change. A high degree of decentralization persists, as do bureaucratic structures of larger police agencies. The structures and practices of the Nation's numerous small agencies remain under-examined. The potential growth of professional structures inside and outside the police organization is largely unexplored. The core police patrol technology has remained essentially unchanged for decades, and early police adaptations to information technology have not yet profoundly altered policing structures and processes in easily observable ways. The demography and education levels of police workers are changing, but the consequences are not obvious. Police culture has long been under siege. Current reforms attempt to reduce the occupation's isolation from the communities it serves and the scientific community that presumably serves it. Mechanisms and styles for governing police retain considerable variation, but the growing role of grassroots community groups and police professional associations remains under-explored. The complexity of the dynamics of change manifests itself in the reaction of American police organizations to two consequential reform movements: community policing and terrorist-oriented policing. American police agencies have shown a remarkable capacity to absorb these reforms while buffering core structure and practices from change. (Published Abstract)