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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 51973 Find in a Library
Title: LAKEWOOD, COLORADO - EVOLUTION OF AN INNOVATIVE POLICE AGENCY
Journal: POLICE CHIEF  Volume:45  Issue:11  Dated:(NOVEMBER 1978)  Pages:57-65
Author(s): G W GARNER
Corporate Author: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: International Assoc of Chiefs of Police
Alexandria, VA 22314
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: WHEN LAKEWOOD, COLO., INCORPORATED IN 1969, IT STARTED A HIGHLY INNOVATIVE POLICE DEPARTMENT. THE EVOLUTION OF THIS FORCE INTO A MORE TRADITIONAL STRUCTURE IS TRACED.
Abstract: LAKEWOOD, COLO., IS A HEAVILY POPULATED AREA JUST EAST OF DENVER. ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS BEHIND THE INCORPORATION THRUST WAS THE INABILITY OF THE OVERWORKED AND UNDERSTAFFED JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE POLICE SERVICE. THE NEW LAKEWOOD DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY HIRED ONLY COLLEGE GRADUATES AND IMPLEMENTED MOST OF THE INNOVATIVE RECOMMENDATIONS OF PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION ON LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. THE MOST VISIBLE, AND CONTROVERSIAL, SYMBOL OF THIS INNOVATION WAS THE UNIFORM -- BLUE BLAZER AND GRAY SLACKS. THE TRADITIONAL QUASI-MILITARY RANK STRUCTURE WAS REPLACED BY A BUSINESS-STYLE OF MANAGEMENT. OTHER INNOVATIONS INCLUDED GREATER INSERVICE TRAINING, GREATER COMMUNITY SERVICE ORIENTATION, GOOD CITIZEN GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES, AND MORE FLEXIBLE PERSONNEL AND MANAGEMENT POLICIES. COMMUNITY ATTITUDE SURVEYS CONDUCTED IN 1971, 1972, AND 1973 REVEALED THAT ABOUT 90 PERCENT OF THOSE SURVEYED AGREED WITH THE CITY'S NEW APPROACH TO LAW ENFORCEMENT. SURVEY FINDINGS ALSO INDICATED BASIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOW THE POLICE PERCEIVED THEIR ROLE AND WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT THE LAW ENFORCERS SHOULD REPRESENT AND ACCOMPLISH. DURING THE PERIOD 1969-1978, THE PUBLIC VIEWED THE IDEA OF INNOVATION FOR INNOVATION SAKE LESS FAVORABLY. THE DEPARTMENT'S PERSONNEL WERE BEGINNING TO ALTER THEIR EXPECTATIONS CONCERNING THE ROLE OF A POLICE AGENT, AND BECAME MORE TRADITIONAL IN THEIR OUTLOOK. THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT'S COMMISSION WERE FOUND TO BE MORE IDEALISTIC THAN PRACTICAL. AS A RESULT OF PUBLIC AND DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL CHANGES IN ATTITUDE, PERSONNEL TURNOVER, AND CHANGES IN THE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT, A MORE TRADITIONAL POLICE AGENCY EVOLVED. A NEW, TRADITIONALIST POLICE CHIEF ABOLISHED PARTICIPATORY MANAGEMENT FOR A MORE TRADITIONAL CHAIN OF COMMAND. ALTHOUGH EMPLOYEE INPUT REMAINED VITAL, STAFF CONTROL WAS STRENGTHENED. THE NONTRADITIONAL UNIFORM AND THE STRONG COMMUNITY SERVICE ORIENTATION OF THE DEPARTMENT REMAIN AS DO SOME OTHER INNOVATIONS. LAKEWOOD'S POLICE SERVICES REMAIN EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE BECAUSE USEFUL INNOVATIONS HAVE BEEN MODIFIED AND ADOPTED, WHILE LESS WORTHY CHANGES HAVE BEEN ABANDONED. INNOVATION SHOULD FOLLOW CAREFUL EVALUATION, AND A DEPARTMENT SHOULD NOT HESITATE TO ALTER OR ABANDON COUNTERPRODUCTIVE AND UNSUCCESSFUL METHODS. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Colorado; Management; Municipal police; Police agencies; Police command and control; Police internal organizations; Police personnel
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51973

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