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5 Explaining Police Behavior: Organizations and Context P olice behavior is affected by broad forces, including features of the organizations that hire, train, and supervise police, as well as the environment within which they work. Organizational influences are important to understand because factors reflecting police organization and policies present possible points of leverage in shaping police practice. Those seeking to change police, whether they are inside or outside the agency, often pursue organizational changes, including instituting new policies, forming new units, changing supervisory practices, instituting performance quotas, or even hiring a new chief. In contrast, many features of the environment are often beyond "easy human contrivance" (Bayley, 2002), and indeed, police practice is often constrained by the environment. The police may not be able to do much about the personal characteristics of residents, the economy, the distribu- tion of wealth, the influx of immigrants, and the cultural habits of the people who live and work in their jurisdiction. Yet these characteristics do power- fully shape the workload of the police, so understanding the influence of these factors and the boundaries they may set on police practice is therefore an important component of police research. Because the effectiveness of a given policy in promoting a desired practice may vary across different envi- ronments, police leaders may find it especially useful to know when and where those policies are most and least effective. Under some circumstances, environmental conditions can also be an object of policy manipulation by police. For instance, a department faced with an indifferent or hostile community may attempt to change the community's willingness to cooperate with the police in order to engage in more effective crime-control strategies. Or the department may wish to pro- 155
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156 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING mote the community's capacity for collective action in partnership with the police. Organizing neighborhood groups, working with churches and reli- gious organizations, and educating the public through citizen-police acad- emies are all ways in which the police attempt to change outcomes, such as the crime rate, by changing the environment of policing (Mastrosfki and Ritti, 2000:191-192). When they engage in such environment-changing strategies, they may also change the way in which the department practices. For example, a police force that works closely with community groups may find that it can engage in more intrusive actions in that community without raising the distrust of community leaders. Thus some environmental factors will interest police precisely because they want to try to change them. Research on these questions is not well developed. In order to under- stand the influence that organizational and environmental factors exert, the committee again presents its conclusions in the form of propositions that summarize large bodies of work. In terms of police organization, the com- mittee reviews research on important law enforcement actions that admin- istrative policy or structure might be expected to affect, such as the use of force, both lethal and nonlethal; citizen complaints and legal actions against the organization; arrest and clearance rates; and traffic citations. Each of these represents an important output in its own right, and each might also speak to and help depict a larger organizational style. The environment in which police organizations operate is challenging to parse into meaningful categories. Many external forces can influence how the police act: their immediate surroundings, the historical relation- ship between a neighborhood and the police, the political tenor of the com- munity, and even the regional culture in which they are situated. The com- mittee organized this research in concentric circles: first the neighborhood that an agency serves, then the city or metropolitan area in which it is located, the politicians and civilians that oversee the department, and politi- cal forces--such as federal legislation--that address police operations. Of course, one important external force, the magnitude of which is not yet fully manifest, could not be ignored: as part of its review, the committee examined the effect of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While little systematic social science data exists on this topic for obvious reasons, the committee reviews what is known and culls from other research litera- tures in order to deepen its analysis of this vital issue. We first consider some of the dependent variables used in this research. They reflect the activities and practices of policing that researchers have attempted to explain. Unlike research reviewed in the previous chapter, which concentrated on the behavior of individual officers, most of the re- search covered in this chapter focuses on police practices in the aggregate-- that is, at the organization level. The committee makes some recommenda- tions regarding measurement issues raised by this research; in addition,
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 157 recommendations have been made about some of them in other chapters of the report. We then turn to research on organizational and environmental factors and conclude with more research recommendations. MEASURES OF ORGANIZATION ACTIVITIES AND OUTPUTS Police organizations, like the people in them, vary considerably. The ability to measure and understand this variation depends on the frequency with which information is collected, the "coverage" or the number and variety of agencies from which collection takes place, the quality of data, and the degree to which the research framework that interprets these data is meaningful and valid. All of the activities or police outputs reviewed in this section are impor- tant to understating the operation of police organizations. Most are ob- tained directly from the agencies, either from surveys initiated by research- ers or by federal data-gathering systems. In a few cases the data come from other organizations, including those in the justice system. In many instances, very few data exist to measure activities or outputs of police organizations, even though they may be a regular feature of police work. Lethal Force During a five-year period in the early 1990s, officers in the Washing- ton, DC, Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed 57 people. Dur- ing the same period, police officers in Chicago--which had five times the population and three times the number of officers--shot and killed 54 people (Leen et al., 1998). What factors explain this considerable variation in the use of lethal force by police in these two cities? A report by the Washington Post examined and dismissed several possible explanations, including the size of the population, the amount of violent crime, the num- ber of homicides, the size of the police force, and the number of arrests for violent offenses (Leen et al., 1998). For instance, DC police averaged 2.3 fatal police shootings per 1,000 officers, compared with 1.5 in 26 other big city police departments and 1.7 in the nine U.S. cities with the highest homi- cide rates (Leen et al., 1998). There is no more important piece of data regarding police behavior than that on the exercise of lethal force and, indeed, data are available nationally and have been collected systematically by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, in its Supplemental Homicide Reports module) since 1968. Yet these data are not published, in part because the FBI "cannot vouch for its accuracy" (Fyfe, 2002:18). Data on police lethal force are also collected routinely by the National Center for Health Statistics in the Vital Statistics of the United States (Kania
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158 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING and Mackey, 1977). Sherman and Langworthy (1979) argue that estimates of justifiable homicide by police derived from vital statistics data deviate substantially from estimates derived from other data sources. They list six reasons for this finding, including vagueness in the instructions for complet- ing standardized death certificates, inconsistencies in the decisions made by coroners and medical examiners, the close relationships between local po- lice and medico-legal agencies, and logistical problems in coding, transport- ing, and entering data. Sherman and Langworthy (1979) offer mixed con- clusions about the utility of vital statistics data for explaining variation in lethal force rates across cities. On one hand, they claim that the data should not be used to compare cities because such comparisons "are likely to be dangerously misleading" (p. 559). On the other hand, they find that the data may be useful for correlational analysis of the factors influencing varia- tions in lethal force across cities (p. 559). Several studies have examined variations in lethal force over place and time. The most accurate data on lethal force that identify jurisdictions have been obtained by newspapers threatening or actually litigating under the Freedom of Information Act (Fyfe, 2002). Yet these data are not systemati- cally collected or available. Nonlethal Force The past decade has seen a pronounced increase in the level of research attention devoted to nonlethal force by police. While many individual po- lice agencies track use of force by their officers, they have only recently begun to collect and assemble these data in a format useful for comparing police organizations. Thus, findings in this area must be subject to more review and research. In 1992, Pate and Fridell (1993) conducted a national survey on police use of force. More than 1,100 agencies responded to the survey (response rate of 65.5 percent). Data from this study form the basis for much of what is known about use of force at the agency level and the kinds of relevant information that are collected by police organizations. Furthermore, data from this study continue to be used for scholarly inquiry in secondary analy- ses (e.g., Archbold and Maguire, 2002; Cao, Deng, and Barton, 2000; Cao and Huang, 2000). Pate and Fridell (1993) acknowledge that since some agencies do not require officers to report all use-of-force incidents, mea- sures computed from these data may be imprecise. Their findings show that less severe forms of force are most prevalent, with handcuffs being used 490 times per 1,000 officers in 1991, bodily force being used 272 times, and weapons being unholstered approximately 130 times. Lethal force was used an average of 0.9 times per 1,000 officers in 1991, vehicle rammings 1 time, and dog bites 6.5 times.
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 159 While the Police-Public Contact Surveys (discussed in chapters 3 and 8) have been very useful and have provided important information on a vari- ety of topics, their utility for exploring hypotheses about interagency varia- tion in the use of force is limited because they do not contain agency or jurisdiction-level identifiers. They are unlikely to become the instruments through which researchers learn the most regarding police use of force. Another major data collection initiative, funded jointly by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice in 1996 and 1997, sought to create a voluntary, anonymous national reporting center for po- lice agencies to report their use of force data. Funding for the creation of a national data base was provided to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in 1996 and 1997. In 1998, the IACP provided its own funding for the project, but the lack of outside support and low coverage convinced the organization to disband the project in 2001 (see Chapters 3 and 7 for further discussion of these data; Henriquez, 1999). Arrest Rates Arrest rates represent one of the most visible output measures of police agencies. They are collected consistently from most police agencies in the country through the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). However, even this measure, which might appear on its face to be clear, has problems. Sherman (1980a, 1980b) found that the legal definition of arrest varied widely across agencies. He concluded that "differing arrest definitions make productivity comparisons between agencies impossible" (Sherman, 1980b:468). Sherman and Glick (1984) used a variety of research methods to study the quality of arrest statistics, including mail survey data from a sample of police agencies and state agencies responsible for compiling police data, brief site visits to 18 police agencies, and intensive case studies in four police agencies. Their findings suggest that state Uniform Crime Reporting agencies failed to en- sure quality control of arrest data, and that in some cases they failed to understand the rules themselves. Furthermore, some police agencies ne- glected to include citations, summonses, and citizens' arrests. Sherman's research on the quality of arrest statistics, which was com- pleted in the early 1980s, has not been replicated; researchers do not know whether the findings apply nearly two decades later. The Justice Research and Statistics Association, a national nonprofit organization linking the di- rectors of state statistical analysis centers, as well as other researchers and practitioners, serves as a professional vehicle for improving criminal justice data collected from states and localities. However, whether there has been any improvement in the quality of arrest statistics since Sherman's study is unknown.
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160 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING Clearances Like the arrest rate, the clearance rate is another measure of police output that is collected widely and frequently from police agencies around the nation. As discussed in Chapter 3, once reported, an offense is desig- nated as founded and it may be cleared in two ways: by arrest or by excep- tion (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1980; Martin and Besharov, 1991). Clearance rates vary over time and place, and this variation is impor- tant to understand. For instance, Riedel and Jarvis (1999) report that clear- ance rates for homicide have been falling almost linearly over the past four decades, dropping from 92 percent in 1960 to 66 percent in 1997 (p. 279 and p. 301). Presumably, a larger proportion of murderers are now walking the street than four decades ago. Understanding the factors that influence clearance rates is more than just an intellectual game; it is a fundamental question in the study of the police. Nearly all clearance rate measures use reported crime as the denomina- tor (Cordner, 1989). Some use arrests in the numerator (Decker, 1981), while others use arrests and exceptions (Cordner, 1989). Clearance rates are routinely used as a proxy for investigative effectiveness or success, yet clearance rates are beset with measurement problems (Alpert and Moore, 1993; Riedel and Jarvis, 1999). For instance, Cordner (1989:146) argues that both the numerator and denominator used in computing the clearance rate are "susceptible to manipulation and measurement error." Similarly, in their report on the future of the Uniform Crime Reporting program, Poggio and his colleagues (1985) list a number of problems with clearance rates that reduce their utility for measuring police performance. Liska, Chamlin, and Reed (1985) examined variation in "certainty of arrest" or "certainty of punishment," which they operationalized as the ratio of arrests to re- ported crimes. While not strictly a clearance rate (as operationalized by the FBI Uniform Crime Reports), it is conceptually similar and avoids the po- tential for "bureaucratic manipulation" by the police (p. 123). Despite these problems with the measurement of clearance rates, they are reported rou- tinely by police departments and used routinely by researchers. Citations There are no national data on citations issued by police agencies. This situation may begin to change as police organizations continue to imple- ment data collection systems related to racial profiling. Because there are no data sets, there is little knowledge about departmental variations in the issuance of citations to citizens, and consequently few empirically supported explanations for these differences. Of the estimated 19.3 million drivers who were pulled over by police at least one time in 1999, about 54 percent received a traffic citation, about 26
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 161 percent received a warning, and only about 3 percent were arrested. Given the volume of citations issued by the police relative to other outcomes they produce, research and theory on what the police do should not neglect this fundamental task. Very little is known about interagency variations in the issuance of citations. Traffic tickets are not the only kind of citation used by police agencies. Many jurisdictions now rely on citations in lieu of arrest for certain misde- meanors. For instance, many states authorize the use of citations for posses- sion of small amounts of marijuana (Feeney, 1982:38). There are at least three general categories of citations (Feeney, 1982; Welsh, 1993). The names used to describe them vary widely across jurisdictions. The first, often re- ferred to as a field citation, is like a traffic ticket and is issued in lieu of a custodial arrest. The second, known as a station citation, is issued after a custodial arrest has been made and is used in lieu of detention. The third, known as a jail citation, is used by sheriffs' deputies or other jailers to release detainees. The field citation is the only one of interest in this report, since it represents an alternative measure of police output that does not involve a custodial arrest. Since the police issue field citations with such frequency, understanding the factors responsible for interagency variation in their use seems to be an important component of explaining what police organizations do. Civilian Complaints Citizen complaints arise when a citizen takes action in response to an encounter with an officer that generates a record of the grievance. These data have been used as indirect indicators of the behavior of the organiza- tion, as seen through the eyes of aggrieved parties. At first glance, the na- ture and pattern of citizen complaints might appear to be a useful indicator of police misbehavior during interactions with citizens. After all, police of- ficers who behave in a civil, professional manner are likely to generate fewer complaints than officers who behave in a rude, abrasive, unprofessional manner. However, aggregated data on citizen complaints have many shortcom- ings. Chief among these is that the number of complaints may say more about a department's openness in seeking out, welcoming, and investigat- ing feedback from the community than it does about police behavior on the streets (Adams, 1999; Walker, 1998, 2001). In addition, Walker (2001) provides numerous examples of police agencies failing to uphold their own complaint intake policies by thwarting citizens' efforts to file complaints. There is also doubtless substantial variation in the willingness of citizens to step forward and press complaints, linked to neighborhood, cultural and historical factors. If they reach the legal system by other channels, the will-
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162 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING ingness of municipalities to negotiate informal settlements of formal suits or complaints affects which ones become known to the public. These factors cloud the interpretation of complaints and other com- plaint-related measures of police behavior, including the rate at which civil suits are filed against departments and civil rights complaints are made against them. As Adams (1999:10) notes, "because the legal process is highly selective in terms of which claims get litigated, lawsuits are a very unreliable measure of illegal use of force." National studies of civil suits (Archbold and Maguire, 2002; Pate and Fridell, 1993) have not found them a persua- sive measure of police behavior. In two major surveys (Pate and Fridell, 1993; Worrall, 2001), complaint questions generated lower response rates than other items, suggesting that the data are not routinely collected and tallied by some agencies. Furthermore, even when agencies do provide nu- merical summaries, there are serious doubts among the academic commu- nity about the reliability and validity of the measures. Given the fundamen- tal importance of police-citizen relationships, however, the topic is important enough to warrant considerable effort in building a reliable body of knowledge. One potentially fruitful avenue to explore is the use of citizen surveys that ask respondents about recent contacts with police. Because these surveys are independent of the department's complaint process, they can provide a reliable measure of citizens' grievances whether or not they were filed or processed. NEGLECTED DIMENSIONS OF POLICE BEHAVIOR Despite their many limitations, the measures reviewed thus far have provided researchers and evaluators with data to assess how police exercise their formal enforcement powers. However, these measures are clearly in- sufficient for tracking police organizations' progress in achieving new no- tions of the police mission that became popular in the late 20th century and are likely to continue well into the 21st century. Indeed, research over the last 40 years clearly shows that most police resources are expended on ac- tivities that do not result in formal enforcement, and that citizens care a great deal about when, where, and how these informal activities occur (Mastrofski, 1983; Whitaker et al., 1980) Research also suggests that they may have a significant influence on the crime control effectiveness of the police (see Chapter 7). The overwhelming emphasis on recording only cer- tain formal enforcement activities in policing is analogous to a hospital's maintaining records only on the surgery its physicians perform, leaving un- recorded the many other important treatments administered by its staff. As Chapter 3 indicates, police have been shown to rely on formal en- forcement powers relatively rarely, and, just as importantly, new strategies such as community and problem-oriented policing call for police to engage
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 163 in a much broader range of activities to accomplish desired outcomes. And even more recently, concerns about a more effective police response to the risks of terrorism have illuminated just how little systematic information there is about police policies and practices concerning the gathering, pro- cessing, and dissemination of information (Ericson and Haggerty, 1997). Policy makers who want to measure police agencies' progress toward implementing practices consistent with these new directions need a new set of institutionalized measures that simply do not exist in any systematic form in agencies across the United States. At a minimum, the following types of indicators are needed to capture the wide range of approaches to police work with which local agencies are experimenting: applications of police authority other than formal enforcement of the criminal law, forms of po- lice assistance, indicators of the quality of the policing process that citizens experience, measures of mobilizing and working with the community, mea- sures of problem solving, and indicators of police as information brokers. Each of these categories is briefly discussed below. Applications of Police Authority That Do Not Invoke the Criminal Process Research shows that police relatively rarely resort to their formal au- thority to arrest or cite someone in dealing with the myriad situations they handle. This is not only because the police, more often than not, choose leniency when the evidence would support formal enforcement, but also because they must often deal with situations in which formal enforcement action is not legally warranted but they feel compelled to do something to correct a situation or prevent matters from deteriorating. Thus, they seek citizen compliance and order maintenance by such methods as simply mak- ing their presence or interest known to potential troublemakers, stopping and questioning them, persuading, advising, commanding, or threatening them, or referring problems to other agencies. Broken-windows policing relies heavily on these informal methods of enforcement, as well as arrests and citations for minor offenses (Wilson and Kelling, 1982; Kelling and Sousa, 2001), yet police departments do not routinely record most of these actions, making it difficult to determine how and how thoroughly this ap- proach has been implemented. Many departments do maintain records on certain field interrogations, which are stops of suspects that do not result in an arrest, and of traffic stops that do not result in a citation. However, the diligence with which these are recorded varies greatly and the comparabil- ity of record-keeping across agencies is unknown. The availability of useful cross-agency data may be changing, however, due to standardization im- posed by vendors of records management systems in multiple agencies. While the Uniform Crime Reports have done a relatively good job of
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164 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING indicating the formal aspects of police performance over time and across jurisdictions, there is no comparable body of data on the far more fre- quently employed informal methods by which police authority is exerted. The nation's accounting system for police authority leaves exertions of that authority unrecorded. Given the challenges of making the UCRs a reliable data source, the difficulties of developing a more comprehensive system for monitoring the informal exercise of police authority are truly daunting. Nonetheless, it might be possible to develop a uniform reporting system for certain aspects of police agencies' documentation of calls for service and field interrogations, one that would call for agencies to use a standardized system to note which informal, as well as formal, uses of authority were applied in each situation recorded by the agency. Such a system would en- able police leaders and policy makers to develop a far more comprehensive picture of policing as most people in their communities are actually experi- encing it. The committee recommends that support be given to the Bureau of Justice Statistics to develop and pilot test in a variety of police depart- ments a system to document informal applications of police authority. Police Assistance to Citizens Police in the United States have long performed a wide range of ser- vices, most of which receive little attention in the analysis of organizational performance. During previous eras of reform, these activities were discred- ited as "not real police work," which detracted from the ability of police to fight crime (Fogelson, 1977; Walker, 1977). Yet currently popular commu- nity policing and problem-oriented policing reforms encourage police to engage in an even broader range of services as a means of more effective crime prevention, enhancing the quality of community life, and securing greater community support for and participation in police efforts. Police are frequently called to exert their authority to protect one party from another (Mastrofski et al., 1996; Snipes, 2001) which is one kind of service, but they are also often asked to do things that could be performed by a private service provider, things that require no special police authority but are provided because of the availability of officers to respond in a timely fashion (Wilson, 1968). These range from pulling stranded cats out of trees, to providing crime prevention advice to neighborhood groups, to running midnight basketball leagues designed to keep youths from engaging in ille- gal and disruptive activities. Some departments engage in more of this activ- ity than do others, and the existence of this natural variation creates oppor- tunities to judge the effects of these efforts on a wide range of outcomes, such as crime, fear of crime, and police legitimacy. For example, the public in one community might find it useful to com- pare its department's level of nonenforcement service delivery to that of
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 165 other similar communities, just as consumers of privately delivered services find it useful to have such information on service providers. Such data, if available on a large number of police departments, would allow researchers to determine the contribution of nonenforcement service delivery to crime control and community satisfaction with the police. The committee recom- mends development of measures that better document at the jurisdiction level the nature and extent of nonenforcement services delivered by police. This program of development should consider the variety of current mea- sures available in U.S. police agencies, pilot test a system at several sites, and then propose a large, multiagency data collection system. Policing Processes There is value in measuring various aspects of the processes of policing, not only because the quality of those processes appears to have consequences for valued outcomes (such as reducing law violations), but also because the public highly values certain aspects of police behavior in and of themselves (such as being reliable, attentive, responsive, competent, respectful, and fair) (Mastrofski, 1999). As Chapter 8 shows, whether and how police perform these processes is at least as important to citizens as police effectiveness in crime control. We have noted some of the limitations of using complaints against the police and lawsuits to measure the quality of these processes. Another limi- tation is that complaints and lawsuits at best measure only bad perfor- mance and leave unattended acceptable or good performance. Chapter 8 recommends a way to generate useful information about these processes by conducting surveys of police "clients." Here we note that the character of those processes appears to be so important to securing police legitimacy and crime reduction that developing a national jurisdiction-level system of data collection on policing processes is essential to a comprehensive charac- terization of what police organizations do. Mobilizing and Working with the Community Community policing reformers have made it widely expected that po- lice in the United States work closely with community groups to prevent crime and enhance the quality of life. As discussed elsewhere in this chapter, a number of survey projects have attempted to measure this kind of activity, one of which has been institutionalized in the Law Enforcement Manage- ment and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) surveys periodically conducted in the nation's larger police agencies. The problem with existing survey data is that they offer weak measures of the scope and intensity with which such activities are undertaken, noting usually only whether an agency is cur-
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206 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING received sufficient research attention. For example, one of the most com- mon assumptions in this regard is that laws passed that allow police to keep some portion of assets seized in drug arrests have served as an incentive for police to increase their attention in this area. Sollars, Benson, and Rasmussen (1994) found that local police in Florida "substantially increased arrests for drug offenses relative to arrests for property and violent crimes" in response to drug asset forfeiture laws. Blumenson and Nilsen (1998) argue broadly that the drug war has transformed the criminal justice, in- cluding law enforcement practice, and credit this change to forfeiture laws. Given the importance of this question, it is surprising how little research has addressed this issue. There is clearly scope for a great deal of additional research on the impact of legislation on the activities of the police and other criminal justice agencies. When states change (and usually tighten) the rules surrounding drunk driving, domestic violence, child abuse, hate crime, gun carrying, and the like, the effects should reverberate through the system. Where there are data, multistate interrupted time-series and quasi-experimental research designs show great promise for estimating the effects of legal interventions on both the problems of interest and the efforts of the criminal justice sys- tem against them. And because there is likely to be variability in both the efforts and effectiveness of individual agencies within states, much more can be learned about the actual implementation of law at the operating level. Intergovernmental Influences: Court Rulings Proposition 13: The American system of government relies heavily on the judicial branch to oversee police practices, and many legal scholars and policy makers assume that most police dutifully follow court rul- ings when made. The available research suggests that police compliance with restrictive court rulings tends to be gradual and incomplete at first, but it increases over time. However, police often seek ways of getting around the requirements of the ruling, often in legal ways. In the United States, the judiciary has a major responsibility for inter- preting laws that specify how the police should practice certain aspects of policing. The most examined of these practices relate to police adherence to constitutional standards of due process in the areas of search and seizure, in-custody interrogation, and use of force. This literature is reviewed in detail in Chapter 7, so in this section we draw general implications from that review and refer the reader to Chapter 7 for details. The body of empirical research on the impact of U.S. Supreme Court rulings suggests that when the Court issues a ruling that restricts or con-
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 207 strains police powers, the police reaction is not one of automatic compli- ance. At first a considerable degree of noncompliance may be expected, as was recorded in studies following the Miranda ruling, which required that the police advise suspects of their right not to self-incriminate and their right to an attorney. Researchers attributed police unfamiliarity with the requirements of the new ruling, but it is also likely that much of the non- compliance issued from reluctance to alter customary practices. Subsequent research, many years after the Miranda standards were established, has noted a high degree of compliance with Miranda, but the police attempt to subvert the protections it affords the suspect by offering perfunctory read- ing of the rights and attempting to persuade the suspect to waive his or her rights. Studies of applications for search warrants show a similar tendency to get around the standards for issuing a search warrant, which include shopping for a judge sympathetic to loose standards, distorting facts, and sometimes even lying. Studies of search and seizure vary considerably in their estimate of the degree of police compliance--due no doubt in part to differences in methods of collecting data--but there is reason to believe that police compliance is much higher when the police desire to seek a successful prosecution, but noncompliance with legal requirements is considerably less likely when the police purpose is to disrupt illicit practices or harass the suspect. This, of course, is a product of the restricted domain of effects that the exclusionary rule can have, since it is only relevant (if raised) when an arrest is made and the prosecutor files charges. The available research suggests that it is safe to conclude that restrictive appellate court rulings will meet with various forms of resistance, subver- sion (both legal and illegal), and just the inertia of old habits dying hard. Resistance and noncompliance out of ignorance give way to more subtle manipulations of the rules as police become accustomed to the new way of doing things over time. Interestingly, researchers have not paid much atten- tion to what happens when the courts loosen restrictions on police. Whether police eagerly take advantage of the loosened rules or whether they also tend to continue past practices is an unanswered question. Intergovernmental Influences: Incentives and the Federal Government There is a substantial, albeit largely descriptive, case study literature suggesting that intergovernmental incentives have a significant impact on both police programs and practices. The most obvious manifestation of this influence, of course, is when the federal government provides grants-in-aid to encourage particular programmatic initiatives. With respect to commu- nity policing, for example, there is at least some evidence that Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants made a difference in the adoption of the community policing model (Moore et al., 2000).
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208 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING Handling Protests There is also empirical evidence of the federal government's influence on policing even when grants-in-aid are not involved. For example, McPhail, Schweingruber, and McCarthy (1998) have documented a major shift in how police agencies handle protests in the United States and link that shift to several different actions by the federal government--actions that sub- stantially changed the incentive structure. Specifically, they document a shift from an "escalated force" policy of policing protests to a "negotiated man- agement" policy. In contrast to an escalated force policy, a negotiated man- agement policy emphasizes the First Amendment rights of protesters, toler- ates a substantial amount of community disruption, entails substantial communication between police and protesters, aims to minimize both the extent and aggressiveness of arrest tactics, and involves a minimal use of force rather than the principle of using a dramatic show of force (1998: 52-54). The shift from an escalated force to a negotiated management policy of policing protest is attributed to three key federal actions: (1) the critical commentary on the escalated force policy produced by several presidential commissions investigating the riots of the 1960s, (2) a series of Supreme Court decisions establishing a settled body of "public forum law" that in- structs police agencies on the need for maximal tolerance of First Amend- ment rights in spaces that have come to be traditionally used as places for expressive activity, and (3) the civil disturbance orientation course (or SEADOC) developed by the U.S. Army's Military Police School (1998: 54-63). In related research, McCarthy and colleagues (McCarthy, McPhail, and Crist, 1995) estimated that "as many as ten thousand police adminis- trators, police officers, and other public officials may have gone through the SEADOC courses" (p. 62). In sum, through court decisions, presidential commissions, and training courses, the federal government changed the le- gal and informational contexts in ways that significantly altered the incen- tives of police departments with respect to the policing of protests. Another facet of the federal influence on local policing may be the FBI National Academy, which receives nominations from departments across the country for potential attendees. A selected number participate in an 11- week training designed for upper and mid-level law enforcement officers, administered to law enforcement managers in four sessions each year at the FBI training academy complex in Quantico, Virginia. It was established in 1935, and since then has graduated more than 32,000 students. While most are from law enforcement agencies in the United States, more than 2,000 students from 128 foreign nations have graduated from the academy as well. A 1999 internal review of graduates showed that more than 5,700 were currently serving as agency heads, including nearly 4,900 local chiefs of police (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2002). There is not a single other
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 209 centralized source through which so many police executives in the United States pass. The FBI National Academy is an important source of innova- tion diffusion, both in the United States and abroad, about which virtually nothing systematic is known by social scientists (for basic descriptive statis- tics, see LaSante and Scheers, 1988). Handling Terrorist Attacks Proposition 14: The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, may have altered police structure, behavior, and policing style in the United States. It takes only a cursory review of headlines to note that the events of September 11, 2001, altered expectations about policing in the United States. Now there are calls for police to respond to suspicious situations, uncover terrorist networks, and work with other agencies and jurisdictions in an unprecedented way. In the event of an attack, police would find them- selves as first-line emergency responders, perhaps faced with biological or radiological hazards. However, little is known about the capability of espe- cially local police to handle these weighty responsibilities. The most important public study to date was conducted in 1992, by researchers from the RAND Corporation. They surveyed several hundred state and local law enforcement agencies about their level of preparation to deal with terrorist incidents (Riley and Hoffman, 1995). At the time, the respondents envisioned terrorism as encompassing both domestic and inter- national groups. Although surveys were administered to samples drawn from three different kinds of agencies (state emergency planning agencies, state police agencies, and local police agencies), we restrict our discussion to the findings for local police agencies. Half of the sample was selected to represent all police agencies, while the remainder was selected because they were deemed "more likely to be targets of terrorism" (Riley and Hoffman, 1995:6). Therefore, as the authors acknowledge, the findings drawn from this study are clearly not generalizable to the population of police agencies in the United States. The response rates for the local police agencies were low; 53 percent for the stratified random sample and 46 percent for the targeted sample. Preparedness and Response. Like any study of agency responses to terror- ism, the RAND project began with their level of preparedness. One-third of those surveyed had identified terrorist groups within their jurisdiction. About a quarter of respondents had conducted an investigation or con- ducted surveillance on suspected terrorist groups in the past five years, though only 8 percent reported participating in a terrorism-related prosecu- tion. Nearly 23 percent had conducted a threat assessment of potentially
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210 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING vulnerable targets. Just over 35 percent had a "special unit, section, group, or person that is specifically concerned with terrorism" (Riley and Hoffman, 1995:53). Nearly three-quarters of responding agencies indicated that at least one empoyee had received special training in antiterrorism or counter- terrorism. Almost a decade before the deadly attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, terrorism was clearly on the minds of some police agencies. Relationships with Outside Agencies. The ongoing threat of terrorism, par- ticularly international terrorism, will require police to work in cooperation with other agencies at different levels of government. The RAND study found that, despite popular impressions about jurisdictional squabbles, the relationship between police and other investigative agencies appeared to be fairly good. The departments surveyed reported having the best relation- ship with other local agencies (91 percent were rated as "good" or "very good," followed by state agencies (81 percent) and the federal government (71 percent). In an effort to improve this state of affairs in the wake of September 11, FBI Director Robert Mueller created the Office of Law En- forcement Coordination and selected a retired police chief to head the of- fice. Follow-up evaluations could determine whether the FBI's efforts are having the intended effects. Outlook for the Future. Prior to September 11, some viewed the likelihood of terrorist attacks in the United States as negligible (e.g., Crock, 2000). The nation's police, however, were less optimistic. In 1992, nearly half viewed it as "very" or "somewhat" likely that a major terrorist attack would take place in the United States during the next 10 years. Eerily, more than 72 percent viewed it as likely that terrorists would attack a domestic com- mercial airliner. However, only 1 percent of respondents viewed it as very likely that they would experience a terrorist attack in their own jurisdiction in the next 10 years, with another 26 percent viewing such an attack as somewhat likely. Finally, and tellingly, only 1 percent of respondents viewed their agencies as very well prepared for a terrorist incident; another 11 percent considered their agencies to be well prepared and 57 percent "some- what prepared." Little systematic knowledge exists on local police preparedness for ter- rorist incidents in the wake of September 11. A recent book on disaster preparedness in general (Tierney, Lindell, and Perry, 2001) laments the lack of research on the role of police in disaster situations. They conclude that "almost nothing new has been learned about police and fire department disaster preparedness" (p. 51). In general, their review of research suggests that police agencies are ill-equipped to deal with large-scale disasters, whether natural or man-made. Wenger, Quarantelli, and Dynes (1989), on
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 211 the basis of many years of research at the University of Delaware's Disaster Research Center, report that police agencies tend to plan for disasters in isolation from other community agencies and to think of disaster response procedures as being a simple linear extension of the procedures they ordi- narily use. According to the authors, police departments "tend to devote few resources to emergency planning.... Larger departments are more likely to plan than smaller ones. When they do plan, police agencies tend to plan internally, in isolation from other community organizations; few have adopted an interorganizational approach to the disaster problem. The po- lice appear to believe that disasters can be handled through the expansion of everyday emergency procedures--that is, they do not consider the quali- tative (as opposed to the quantitative) difference between disasters and `ev- eryday' emergencies" (Wenger, Quarantelli, and Dynes, 1989:51). Of course, the apparent tendency for police to plan in isolation is not unique. A recent report on chemical and biological terrorism by the Na- tional Research Council (1999:30) suggests the need for "an institutional- ized linkage between the law enforcement and medical communities." The report suggests that the inclusion "of key medical personnel in anti-terrorist intelligence activity would no doubt be facilitated by their willingness to undergo training on the needs of the law enforcement community, espe- cially procedures for proper preservation of evidence" (p. 30). They con- clude that few local medical communities have effectively developed struc- tural linkages with law enforcement. Local response teams should include a law enforcement officer whose responsibility is to "establish relationships with the local FBI office and other law enforcement agencies sufficient to ensure that the team has the maximum prior warning of potential nuclear, chemical, or biological incidents" (p. 31). The role of local police in prevention and response to terrorism remains unclear. The police are just one element of a vast interorganizational net- work of agencies with an interest in terrorism. These networks are both horizontal and vertical. Horizontally, a variety of agencies performing dif- ferent functions--medical, fire, civil defense, etc.--must all work together in cooperation with the police. Vertically, the response to terrorism takes place a many different levels, including local, county, state, federal, and international authorities. The proper role of police in these networks is still emerging. Although many agencies play a role in the response to terrorism, at the local level, police agencies are now dealing with a host of expanded respon- sibilities. A post-9/11 survey of 192 cities by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that the 45 percent of total spending on "unanticipated, additional security and readiness costs incurred between September 11 and December 31" was concentrated on the police, with fire, emergency medical services, public health, and other agencies also incurring expanded costs. Respon-
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212 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING dents estimated that 31 percent of additional costs in 2002 would be ex- pended on the police. Anecdotes provided by survey respondents suggest that most police agencies have been experiencing a variety of increased bur- dens since September 11, including: · Responding to suspicious packages in the wake of the anthrax scare. · Providing extra security for buildings, critical infrastructure (such as water treatment plants), and events. · Reassigning personnel to a variety of new assignments, such as re- gional task forces and special units. · Creating new units and positions to respond to security concerns. · Rapid expansion in hiring. · New training needs. · Assessing local security risks. · Increased planning and policy development. · Dealing with a shortage in staff due to the deployment of National Guard and military reserve units. Only five of the 192 cities surveyed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors re- ported that their communities had not incurred additional costs for security in the wake of September 11. Research Issues. Understanding how police agencies in the United States are preparing for and responding to the terrorist threat presents a special set of challenges for researchers. The 1992 RAND survey described earlier ob- tained a response rate much lower than is typical for establishment surveys of police agencies (see Maguire et al., 2003). The researchers suggest that the sensitivity of the topic probably had an influence on the response rate. The infrequency of actual terrorist incidents on American soil means that random samples of agencies would include few or even none that had expe- rience in dealing with terrorism. Security concerns have probably made rep- etition of the RAND study even more difficult, for police agencies are ner- vous about sharing their preparation strategies, perhaps fearing this will increase their vulnerability (Pluchinsky, 2002). In the interest of national security, many federal and state agencies are now paying more attention to the need for protecting sensitive but unclassified information (Parker, Johnson, and Locy, 2002; Sammon, 2002). The burden is on the research community to ensure continued access to police agencies in a manner that accommodates these concerns. One possible, if more subtle, effect of the attacks of September 11 could be the acceleration of an already existing organizational posture that some observers have dubbed "militarism." As early as 1970, Bittner noted that "the conception of the police as a quasi-military institution with a warlike
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 213 mission plays an important part in the structuring of police work in modern American departments" (Bittner, 1970:52). The roots of militarism extend well back into the history of policing, and Klockars (1988) argued that the emergence of the military analogy served three important functions: (1) it conferred honor and respect on policing as an occupation, (2) its rhetorical focus on fighting a war on crime enabled police to attach a moral urgency to their work, and (3) it sought to adjust the relationship between police chiefs and local politicians to resemble more closely the relationship be- tween military generals and national politicians. Yet it is also the case that the level of militarism is distributed un- equally, so that some police organizations are more militaristic than others (Kraska and Cubellis, 1997; Kraska and Kappeler, 1997), and the overall level of militarism in policing, both in the United States and abroad, is expanding (Kopel and Blackman, 1997; Weber, 1999; Kraska, 1996, 2001; McCulloch, 2001). Kraska and his colleagues have noted an increase in the number of agencies with police paramilitary units. About 89 percent of the large agencies they surveyed reported having such a unit, up from 59 per- cent in 1982 and 78 percent in 1990. Furthermore, this trend is now mak- ing its way into routine patrol operations and into small town police de- partments (Kraska and Cubellis, 1997; Kraska and Kappeler, 1997; Weber, 1999; McCulloch, 2001). Police are not only relying increasingly on the "lethal artifacts" of the military, but also on a variety of advanced nonlethal technologies (Haggerty and Ericson, 1999). These include sophisticated communications and sur- veillance technologies designed for the battlefield, but adapted for law en- forcement. Haggerty and Ericson note that the diffusion of military tech- nologies to civilian law enforcement defies an unconscious trickle-down explanation. Rather, the diffusion is due to a conscious, direct effort on the part of "powerful military/corporate interests...to justify the `dual-use' sta- tus of their technologies " (p. 248). This is one of many substantive areas in which private-market vendors appear to be influencing policing. Some sug- gest that the militarization of criminal justice agencies is a by-product of the emergence of the "criminal justice industrial complex," a term coined by Richard Quinney (1980) (Haggerty and Ericson, 2001; Kraska, 2001). Haggerty and Ericson (2001:54) describe Quinney's concern as with "the alliance being forged between the criminal justice establishment and corpo- rations that require markets for technologies of social control." The effects and extent of militarism must be examined much more closely, since the attacks of September 11 suggest that this trend will con- tinue. Police organizations around the nation are struggling to prepare them- selves for the possibility of future attacks, and some of these responses are likely to be paramilitaristic.
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214 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING In light of the dearth of research in this area, the committee recom- mends research on the organizational demands of responding to terrorism. What has been done suggests that responding to terrorism places new de- mands on municipal police agencies. It requires them to coordinate their efforts with multiple levels of government; to plan in coordination with public health and medical organizations and with the military; and to learn to safeguard their own employees from new chemical and biological risks. They must continue to maintain open communication with the communi- ties they serve and their commitment to lawful conduct, while they are faced with new information and intelligence needs. From the perspective of local departments, more research is needed on how to respond to these organizational challenges. CONCLUSION The oft-repeated theme of this chapter is that the available evidence is insufficient to draw conclusions and that more research is needed. The defi- ciencies in the research on organizational and environmental effects on po- lice practice fall into four categories. One is simply the absence of studies entirely or of studies more rigorous than the case study. This can be said of virtually all of the propositions considered, but is an especially severe prob- lem for those pertaining to the effects of decentralization, hierarchy, CompStat, oversight by local elected officials, citizen review boards, other criminal justice and human service agency practices, and terrorism since September 11, 2001. In these areas research offers at most interesting specu- lation about what might be happening. A second deficiency is that even the research that goes beyond the case study design is overwhelmingly limited to cross-sectional comparisons that statistically control for the effects of other variables. Studies using quasi- experimental and experimental designs are quite rare. Consequently, it is difficult to have confidence that relationships shown in the data are attrib- utable to causation. A third problem is that much of the data currently collected on police practice have significant problems that limit their utility for applied and scholarly research. The areas of lethal and nonlethal force should be espe- cially high priorities for improvement, since they generate so much concern among the public and are the cause for the more extreme legal measures taken to seek civil remedies for individuals, as well as to enjoin and alter police practices. A fourth deficiency is that measures of organizational practice tend to be heavily biased in favor of measures of policing that are now regarded as traditional such as arrest, use of force, and case clearances. These are, of course, important aspects of what police do, but the data that are collected
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EXPLAINING POLICE BEHAVIOR: ORGANIZATIONS AND CONTEXT 215 on a widespread, national basis neglect police practices that reflect the de- sires of many citizens, politicians, and the police. Police handle most disor- ders and minor crimes without invoking the criminal process, yet the Uni- form Crime Reports, the principal national data resource, report only rates of arrest. Police provide an array of other services that often are poorly documented on the agency's records, not to mention their absence from a nationwide database. The same goes for problemsolving, mobilizing and working with the community, and gathering or brokering information func- tions that will be absolutely critical to the successful waging of a war on terrorism. The committee judges that the federal government can and should play a key role in stimulating data collection and research that enables research- ers to fill the many gaps discussed in this chapter. The ready availability of standardized data, collected in many agencies repeatedly over an extended period of time, provides the raw material needed to facilitate a proliferation of quality studies of the impact of police organization and environmental features. However, unlike the top-down approach used in the development of the Uniform Crime Reports, the committee recommends that the federal government begin with a bottom-up approach. Rather than impose new data systems on police agencies or try to persuade them to adopt them, the federal government should begin by supporting the development and test- ing of a variety of different data collection systems in various police depart- ments around the nation. This will have two benefits. First, it will stimulate competition, thus increasing the quality of results, and it will increase the likelihood of uncov- ering systems that will work for the broadest possible array of local depart- ments. Second, such an approach is more likely to result in systems that local departments themselves can and will use for their own practical pur- poses. The ultimate goal, of course, is to have in place systems that large numbers of departments will commit to using over long time periods, but unlike the Uniform Crime Reports, it may be less important to promote comprehensive adoption than it is to ensure that adoption be sufficiently widespread that policy makers can evaluate the effects of organizational innovation and environmental influences over a wide range of conditions. The committee judges none of the propositions considered in this chap- ter to have conclusive findings, but certain of them point in directions that have implications for public policy. First, it appears that simple recommen- dations about increasing or decreasing the size of the police organization to produce a particular pattern of behavior are unlikely to yield desirable re- sults with a high degree of predictability. The effects of size appear to be contingent on many other factors, although current research is unable to specify what those conditions are. Second, when police organizations create new job specialties, such as community policing officer, how those officers
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216 FAIRNESS AND EFFECTIVENESS IN POLICING spend their time may change in the direction anticipated by the department, but patterns in how the officers interact with the public do not appear to be different from those of generalist patrol officers. Third, when patrol offic- ers' responsibilities are focused geographically by permanent beat assign- ments, they may increase their knowledge of the geographic area, but there do not appear to be clear changes in patterns of officer behavior unless they are reinforced with other structures, such as training, supervision, and in- centives. Fourth, formalizing restrictive policies on the use of lethal force can reduce the frequency with which police use it, but the strongest effects may occur only when the policy change is stimulated by a crisis. Fifth, how police behave toward the public does appear to be conditioned by the char- acter of the neighborhood, disadvantaged and high crime areas receiving more punitive policing than other areas. Similarly, at the level of city and metropolitan area, police deliver punishment to those communities that are more disadvantaged. Although these results are consistent with a conflict theory perspective, they are also consistent with the notion that the police are serving the disadvantaged persons in those areas. Finally, police appear to respond to restrictive court rulings initially by resisting them. However, over time they do acclimate to them, increasing the frequency of compli- ance. Yet they also find ways to get around the purpose of those rulings, suggesting that whatever the courts' expectations, police are not inclined to accept the goals of efforts to change their practices through litigation.
Representative terms from entire chapter: