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NCJ Number: 141962 Find in a Library
Title: You Can Lead a Horse to Water: A Case Study of a Police Department's Response to Stricter Drunk-Driving Laws
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:9  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1992)  Pages:465-491
Author(s): S D Mastrofski; R R Ritti
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 27
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This case study of one police agency's enforcement of a 1983 Pennsylvania law strengthening enforcement and penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol concludes that the degree to which police implement a new criminal law may be entirely independent of efforts to ensure political accountability and organizational control.
Abstract: Extensive field research was conducted in "Melville," the fictional name of the town considered, during late 1989 and early 1990. Data were gathered by means of detailed interviews, casual discussions, observations, document reviews, and surveys of more than 100 police officers and 232 randomly selected licensed drivers over age 21. Results revealed that in Melville, little external demand exists for drunk-driving enforcement, and police management tries to suppress it while making only symbolic gestures of support. However, management's ability to control street-level enforcement practices is limited, and a small number of police officers generates a disproportionate number of arrests for personal financial gain from overtime pay, giving the department a much higher arrest rate than the department desires. Thus, Melville's responsiveness to the State's drunk-driving law is due to the inability of local authorities to control street-level practices and not due to external political pressure or formal policy. Footnotes, table, and 40 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Drunk driver programs; Police discretion
Index Term(s): Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Legislative impact; Pennsylvania; Police command and control; Police work attitudes
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