Policing in America: A Balance of Forces (4th Edition)

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9780131580220: Policing in America: A Balance of Forces (4th Edition)

Praised for its scholarship, this book uses the “Balance of Forces” metaphor to examine three primary correlates of police practice–police organizations, officers and communities.  Written in a conversational tone, it offers extensive coverage of police history, the current structure of the police industry, and critical police functions. With enhanced visuals and extensive references, this book helps readers develop an appreciation for the “big picture” and strives to integrate the broad research on policing into one coherent perspective. Balance of forces themeprovides a strong conceptual framework for examining the police and their practices.  Research-based perspective includes thorough references and empirical researchthroughout the text.  Conversational tone presents complex ideas in clear, straightforward language. Anyone interested in policing in America.

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From the Publisher:

This book has been written to help students develop an understanding of the different police and law enforcement agencies working in the United States today. Students will learn how these agencies developed, and examine current police practice and problems. It not only provides a detailed description of policing, but also offers students an analytic framework for understanding the police as a product of a balance of social, historical, political, legal, individual, and organizational forces.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Writing the third edition of Policing in America was a challenge. Reactions to the first two editions from colleagues and our students were gratifying. Our original goal was to produce a book that could both serve as an introductory textbook and spur the interest and thinking of both our students and our colleagues. The comments we have received indicate that we have been successful. Instructors and students were satisfied with the level and depth of coverage, and the style of presentation. Our challenge in this edition was twofold. First, how might we improve on our earlier success? Second, how could we best incorporate the explosion of knowledge about the police?

The third edition retains the best of the earlier editions and includes improvements suggested by colleagues and the latest findings from the continually expanding body of policing knowledge. We continue to use a "conversational" tone, writing in "plain English." Where we need to use precise or jargonistic terms, we define them in the text. Our purpose remains that of communicating ideas, and we still think that is best done simply. The ideas are complex, but the reading is clear. We still want readers to wrestle with the ideas, not the vocabulary or sentence structure.

FRAMEWORK

The third edition follows the same framework we used in the second. To organize the large and diverse body of information, we provide a conceptual framework within which we hope to understand the police. We believe that policing in practice—what the police do on the street—is a product of a number of factors or forces. We use a balance-of-forces metaphor for understanding the police and devote chapters to identifying the important forces and for illustrating ways in which different balances are reached. We recognize not only that differences exist among police agencies in the United States but also that these differences are purposeful. What works in one community may not work in another for very legitimate and understandable reasons.

We don't use words such as cause or determinant when discussing factors that appear to be linked to police practice. Instead, we focus on correlates of policing—factors that may not explain any particular police action, but that do seem to explain police practices in general. In combination with our balance-of-forces metaphor, we make recurrent reference to correlates of policing in substantive chapters. This recurring topic provides unity and continuity to our examination of police practice. Our colleagues and students tell us that this framework encourages readers to develop their own integrative skills.

PEDAGOGICAL FEATURES

As a learning tool, this textbook is designed to assist students in learning about the police. Each chapter begins with a detailed outline of the topics included within it. As we introduce new words, we define them in the text so that readers do not have to flip through the book. To assist readers further, we have included review questions at the end of each chapter, called the "Chapter Checkup." Probably the best way to use these questions is to read them first, then read the chapter knowing what we believe readers should gain from the chapter. Upon finishing the chapter, readers should take a few moments to answer each of the questions to be sure that they have understood the material. Each chapter also contains a summary, sometimes under the heading "Correlates," and sometimes simply titled "Conclusion." We have included a detailed and exhaustive index to make it easier for readers to find specific topics. Finally, each chapter is extensively referenced and the list of references provides a solid bibliography for readers who wish to begin an independent study of any of the topics discussed in the book.

We believe that the use of a recurrent theme and writing in plain English makes the book "reader friendly." Where appropriate, we have included boxes and insets to supplement discussion in the text. We try to present information in a visual fashion, using illustrations, graphs, and figures to help "visual learners" grasp the meaning of the words and data included in the chapters. These insets and graphics include biographies of people important to the development of policing, photographs to serve as visual cues, and analytic schemes to illustrate how important factors are correlated with policing. Our goal is to have the insets communicate ideas, and we agree with the saying, "A picture paints a thousand words." Whenever possible, we try to use pictures with, or in place of, words.

ORGANIZATION

This book is divided into five parts, and each part contributes to a global understanding of policing in America. Our own perspective is that policing is organic, that the history, structure, organization, functions, and issues in policing are all related. Nonetheless, we chose these five sections as a means to organize the presentation of information. Part I analyzes the history of policing and assesses the social, political, and historical forces that are correlated with both the rise of formal policing and the variety of shapes such policing has taken. Part II examines the police industry in the United States. It describes federal, state, special-purpose, private, and local policing agencies; their history, and their current status. Part III describes what we identify as the major correlates of policing; organizations, officers, and communities. Part IV examines the basic functions of police in American society. Part V applies the lessons learned to an analysis of the development of community policing, an assessment of police misconduct and control, and the likely future of policing in America.

In the preface of the previous editions we wrote that we wanted this book to do "double duty" Novices can learn enough to be sufficiently grounded in existing theory and knowledge of the police to pursue further study. Beyond this, readers will develop the habit of integrating the available theory and research on policing—in short, of looking at the big picture. In addition, instructors will be spurred to reconsider the research and theory on policing as a result of the way in which we organize and present these materials in the book. We wanted to integrate materials as well as communicate them in a way that would prove stimulating to instructors, advanced students, and introductory students alike. Eight years later, we are satisfied that we have accomplished this goal. This edition is designed to continue the tradition.

CHANGES FOR THE THIRD EDITION

As with the second edition, when we set about the task of preparing the third edition we believed that the basic book was solid and well received. Following the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," we made only those changes we felt were essential. A quick comparison of the tables of contents for this edition and the second edition will reveal no major changes. What it will not show is the subtle fine tuning we have attempted. Throughout the book we have taken great pains to improve the wording, where possible. We have also been careful to build on earlier chapters as we revised later ones. Although each chapter can, we believe, stand on its own, we have been careful to reintroduce and employ the theoretical concepts developed in the descriptive chapters as we present information in the analytic chapters.

When the second edition went to press in late 1998, the empirical literature about policing was entering a period of rapid growth. Since then, literally hundreds of federally supported policing studies have been released, the federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services reached its stride, new policing journals were launched, and our knowledge of and understanding about the police has grown tremendously. In that same time period, concern about international organized crime has grown—crimes, especially violent crimes in schools—have emerged as a major issue, and the question of racial bias in police actions has retaken center stage on the national agenda. At the same time, serious crime has been in decline, and the role of policing in crime control has been debated.

The major challenge we faced in this edition was how best to integrate and examine these emerging and re-emerging topics. In the end, our own analysis led us to conclude that the balance-of-forces metaphor applies as well to understanding the growth and development of these "new" issues as it does to a general understanding of policing in America. Thus, the most important change for the third edition involved integrating emerging issues into the existing analytic framework. Another change in this edition reflects the fact that we now have some empirical research addressing several of the questions and issues highlighted in the chapters. As a result, we have been able to incorporate more graphs and tables to present this information to readers. Each chapter is a bit longer than the previous edition, reflecting the availability of pertinent information. Finally, the reference section for each chapter is also a bit longer, incorporating the latest information about relevant topics.

We have retained our focus on police discretion throughout the book, and we have moved coverage of domestic violence from our examination of police service to the discussion of order maintenance, where we explore the relatively recent movement to control police discretion by mandating police take certain actions, such as mandatory or preferred arrest. Finally, we completed the necessary updating of previous information. We hope we have kept the contents of the book current while retaining a focus on a broader understanding of policing in the United States over its entire history and into the future.

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