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Quasi-Military Organization of Police (From Police and Society: Touchstone Readings, P 173-184, 1995, Victor E. Kappeler, ed. - See NCJ-151401)

NCJ Number
E Bittner
Date Published
12 pages
Many police departments in the U.S. are organized based on the conception of the police as a quasi-military institution carrying out a war-like mission.
The military model is very attractive to police planners for several reasons: the obvious parallels between the military and the police in terms of using force to accomplish goals and employing highly trained personnel, the need for strict internal regulations in order to eliminate and control police corruption, and the military experience shared by many police officers which helps to strengthen internal discipline. The most important exception to the military model found in police work is the officer's need to produce tangible results in the form of arrests and successful prosecutions. This article notes that the need to balance internal discipline with police-citizen interactions results in pressure on the individual officer to produce results, often by relying on various degrees of misconduct. A truly professional police force can be built only when officers are rewarded for possessing good qualities of police work; this system, however, would be in direct competition with current methods of military-bureaucratic regulation. 20 notes