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Alternative Futures for Policing

  • John E. Eck
Chapter

Abstract

In Justice Without Trial, Jerome Skolnick (1975) described a basic tension in policing—the inherent conflict between the rule of law and bureaucratic efficiency (see Chapter 2). Today, policing is undergoing a fundamental reexamination of its functions and strategy that could have profound implications for this tension. Current reexaminations could lead to deep meaningful changes in how officers perform their duties and relate to the publics they serve. Proposed changes in the operational strategy of policing emphasizing order maintenance give greater discretionary authority to line officers to address community concerns. By increasing officers’ discretionary authority to address community problems these changes strengthen order, efficiency, and initiative at the possible expense of the rule of law. Alternatively, new approaches to policing may redefine the operational environment of officers and thus eliminate or greatly reduce the tension described by Skolnick. Or, the proposed changes may have no impact on Skolnick’s dilemma. The changes may be cosmetic—altering only the terminology used to describe policing and adding a few boxes to departments’ organization charts—and have little impact on the way police officers act.

Keywords

Police Agency Police Work Alternative Future Community Police Patrol Officer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1993

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  • John E. Eck

There are no affiliations available

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