Police Department Organization Paper

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Police Department Organization Paper
University of Phoenix
February 15, 2011

The organizational structure of most American police departments is a bureaucracy with an authoritarian management style; the only exception is smaller departments which have a more informal management style and simple organizational structure (Katz and Walker, 2008). Most departments have a civil service system to govern personal policies, except for the smallest agencies. The majority of larger departments have collective bargaining contracts with unions to represent rank-and file- officers (Katz and Walker, 2008). Police organizations in America still use the quasi-military style which was developed by Sir Robert Peel in 1829 for the London Metropolitan Police. Police organizations are similar to the military in that the officers wear uniforms, they use military ranks such a sergeant, there is a hierarchical command structure, they use an authoritarian style with disciplinary actions for not obeying orders, and officers carry weapons and have the authority to use physical force and make arrests which deprive people of their liberty (Katz and Walker, 2008). Police organizations only simulate the military style and professionalism; there are four main differences between police departments and the military. The first is that officers serve and protect the public instead of combat a foreign enemy; secondly, the services provided by officers are meant to help people and often individual citizens request assistance; the third is officers are governed by laws which protect the rights of citizens; and lastly, officers normally act individually as opposed to the military which is trained to act as a group or unit (Katz and Walker, 2008). The three theories used to describe police organizations are contingency theory, intuitional theory, and resource dependency theory. The contingency theory is the main framework used to understand the structure and policies of police...
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