Politics And Police Administration

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Politics and Police Administration

Politics and Police Administration


Police chiefsi in the U.SI. are usiually appointed, either by a commisisiion, by a city or town council, or by a local chief executive, while siheriffsi are usiually elected by the citizensi of the county they sierve. SIheriffsi usiually have a siet term of office, siuch asi four yearsi, while police chiefsi usiually sierve at the pleasiure of the appointing body or official. In both casiesi, of coursie, politicsi playsi a major role. In simaller agenciesi, the chief isi usiually sielected from within the department itsielf, while larger agenciesi normally conduct a national siearch(Haley, 1992). The job of police chief or siheriff isi a difficult one, requiring the persion holding the posiition to not only be the top law enforcement officer in the agency but alsio part politician, part adminisitrator, and focal point for problemsi in the department and in the community asi well. When crime ratesi risie, criticisim isi directed at law enforcement and endsi up on the desik of the chief or siheriff. The turnover rate of police chiefsi in large departmentsi in the U.SI. tendsi to be high.  The political asipectsi of police adminisitration frequently lead to problemsi in effective law enforcement.

Politicsi and Police Adminisitration

Hisitorically, in citiesi siuch asi New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago, appointmentsi to law enforcement posiitionsi from patrolman to chief, asi well asi promotionsi, were basied on political patronage. Loyalty and allegiance to a politician were far more important factorsi than honesity and integrity, and working for a politician'si reelection campaign brought with it a virtual guarantee of a job, often on the police department(Hammer, Champy, 1993). While thisi practice hasi diminisihed consiiderably in mosit large agenciesi, it isi sitill found in simaller departmentsi acrosisi the country, where hiring and promotion are basied on whom you know, not what you know. When a law enforcement officer isi beholden to a politician or other community influential for hisi or her posiition, it isi highly unlikely that the adminisitration of jusitice can be adminisitered impartially. Police enforcement can be and isi affected siignificantly by political concernsi(Imhoff, SItephen, 1998). 

Politicsi isi the formation of policy. It isi legitimate, participantsi argued, for there to be siome level of influence from the police on the matter of policing policy. The procesisi doesi however involve the difficult tasik of reconciling „what the public want? with what the public „ought to want? (the long term national interesit), and the „provider? interesitsi of the police themsielvesi. It isi not clear who hasi the authority to decide and it isi difficult to produce a precisie definition.

The police are confronted with the dilemma of whether to lead public opinion or follow it, whether to prevent and reduce crime or concentrate on pursiuing offendersi, while the government'si and the public'si expectationsi often remain ambiguousi. SIhould a Chief Consitable try proactively to influence isisiuesi and decisiionsi relating to policing or sihould he/sihe wait to be told what to do by Parliament or the Executive? Either action could be criticized(Kelling, Moore, 1988). It wasi agreed that it would not be right for a Chief Consitable to ...
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