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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 63675 Find in a Library
Title: CHANGING CONCEPTIONS OF THE POLICE ROLE - A SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW (FROM CRIME AND JUSTICE - AN ANNUAL REVIEW OF RESEARCH, V 1, 1979, BY NORVAL MORRIS AND MICHAEL TONRY - SEE NCJ-63668)
Author(s): R G RUMBAUT; E BITTNER
Corporate Author: University of Chicago Press
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 50
Sponsoring Agency: University of Chicago Press
Chicago, IL 60637
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE CHANGING CONCEPTIONS OF THE POLICE ROLE WHICH PROVIDE THE CONTEXTUAL BASIS FOR POLICE REFORM ARE EXAMINED IN THIS ESSAY.
Abstract: CONCEPTIONS OF THE POLICE AND THE PROBLEMS OF POLICING IN THE UNITED STATES HAVE BEEN SHAPED BY THE POLITICAL UPHEAVALS AND CRISIS OF LEGITIMACY THAT CONFRONTED ALL INSTITUTIONS IN THE 1960'S. FOR THE FIRST TIME, POLICE REFORM IS COMING UNDER THE CONTROL OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT POLICE OFFICIALS AND HAVE NO PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE IN POLICING. RECENT RESEARCH HAS FOCUSED ATTENTION ON THE STRUCTURAL ASPECTS OF DISCRETION AND PEACEKEEPING IN POLICE WORK AND ON THE EMERGENCE OF THE IDEOLOGY OF POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS. SUCH STUDIES HAVE CRITIZED TRADITIONAL POLICE RATIONALES AND DEMONSTRATED THE CONTRADICTIONS INHERENT IN THE EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER. POLICE REFORM HAS BECOME AN ESTABLISHED ENTERPRISE IN THE 1970'S AND IS INCREASINGLY EXERCISED UNDER THE TECHNICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OF PROFESSIONAL CHANGE-MAKERS. SUCH TECHNOLOGICAL AND LEGALISTIC REFORMS REFLECT AN ACCELERATED MOVEMENT AWAY FROM CONCERNS OF SUBSTANTIVE RATIONALITY TO THOSE OF FORMAL RATIONALITY, DEPOLITICIZING THE REFORM PROCESS, AND ROBBING IT OF POLICY DIRECTION. WHILE HELPING TO INSULATE THE POLICE FROM POLITICAL MANIPULATION, THE MOVEMENT ALSO ATTENUATES THE AIMS OF POLITICAL JUSTICE, INCLUDING THOSE OF POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY, LOCAL COMMUNITY REVIEW, AND CONTROL OF POLICE DISCRETIONARY POLICYMAKING POWERS. THUS EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF POLICE PRACTICE AND DEVELOP SKILLED, INFORMED, AND JUDICIOUS POLICE OFFICERS REMAIN BLOCKED BY A SET OF STRUCTURAL AND CULTURAL CONSTRAINTS. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED - MJW)
Index Term(s): Police community relations; Police discretion; Police effectiveness; Police reform
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63675

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