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Chapter 5

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SOC 3750
Michelle Dumas

Policing and Society Chapter 5: Police Bureaucracy 01/14/2013  Bureacracy o Goal-oriented organizations specifically designed to abide by rational principles so that the effective attainment of their goals is achieved as efficiently as possible  Formal organizations o Larger groups whose short-term and long-term activities are planned to achieve certain objectives  Relationships we have in our lives can be classified into two categories: o Primary group  Relationships among members have strength, emotional investment, and relative permanence (with family members) attached to them o Secondary group  Interactions and relationships are generally impersonal, transitory and merely temporary (sales clerk who serves us at grocery store)  *These often take place within formal organizations o primary groups tend to exercise informal control over our behaviour, while formal control is the province of secondary groups (official agencies such as police) o modern day society increasingly relies on and emphasizes these large specialized secondary groups or formal organizations over primary groups Characteristics of formal organizations  almost all formal organizations in the criminal justice field operate as bureaucracies, and this became widespread during the Industrial Revolution  we owe many of the original insights regarding bureaucracy to Max Weber o focused on rationalization:  the increasing trend toward explicitly orienting goals and procedures for achieving them without regard to emotional involvement or consequences  leaders need to be “emotionally detached, and hence rigorously ‘professional’ expert”  once established, Weber saw these org.’s as virtually indestructible  he believed that the young needed to be educated in order to tackle the current issues and conditions in the world, and as a solution, mass schooling and an accompanying educational bureaucracy was established  6 characteristics of typical bureaucracy o Hierarchy of authority: information moves up chain of command, policy decisions moving downwards  Police- chief or directorcommanders, captains, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, line officers  case info flows upward, overall direction flows downward from top o Impersonality: operate on the basis of impersonal rules that clearly state the duties and responsibilities of various office holders, standardized Policing and Society Chapter 5: Police Bureaucracy 01/14/2013 procedures applicable to all cases, and the conduct of office holders with regard to issues that come before the org.  Officers carry out duties with no regard for who offender may be or their position in society o Written rules of conduct: all duties, obligations, and responsibilities of police officers are specified rather exhaustively, and generally, in writing  Detailed job descriptions educate officers on the range of their specific duties o Promotion based on achievement: selections and appointments made to bureaucratic offices are made according to specialized (often technical) qualifications rather than other, more personal, criteria  Police departments use many different tests and occupational qualifications to make their decisions in hiring o Specialized division of labour: areas of responsibility are clearly specified and officers are highly specialized in what they deal with  Distinctions made in polic departments with regard to those who are defined as patrol officers and those who are deemed to be investigators  Overall goal of police agency in terms of crime fighting is achieved through the efforts of smaller specialized units o Separation of the personal from the official: clear separation made between property, tools, and rights that adhere to a particular bureaucratic position and the person who occupies that position  These things belong to the position and not to the person Advantages, disadvantages and alternatives to police bureaucracy o Advantages  Hierarchy makes it clear who is in charges and designates appropriate roles for appropriate positions in organization  It is a good idea to expect officers to treat members of the public who come into contact with police professionally, correctly, and equally as possible  Written rules of conduct allow both officers and members of the public to know what is acceptable and unacceptable in terms of police behaviour= increased accountability, uniform behaviour  Designated areas of specialization allow for all aspects of an agency’s mission to be covered and completed  Compartmentalization of the personal and the professional is appropriate in that mixing the two makes the particular individual seem larger than the position o Disadvantages  Rigidity of complex system of rules stifles creativity and flexibility while speedier and more efficient responses are sacrificed  If officers are required to fully document contact with citizens, which can be very time consuming, in order to evaluate officers and ensure Policing and Society Chapter 5: Police Bureaucracy 01/14/2013 accountability, is the time spent on this activity a wise use of the department’s resources?  Too much rigidity of
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