Two Cultures of Policing: Street Cops and Management Cops (New observations)

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9780878554690: Two Cultures of Policing: Street Cops and Management Cops (New observations)

The emergence and functioning of two competing and sometimes conflicting cultures within police departments demonstrates how competition between street cops and “bosses” is at the heart of the organizational dilemma of modern urban policing. Unlike other works in this field that focus on the monolithic culture or familial quality of policing, this study demonstrates that which might look cohesive from the point of view of outsiders has its own internal dynamics and conflicts. The book shows that police departments are not immune to the conflict inherent in any large-scale bureaucracy, when externally imposed management schemes for increasing efficiency and effectiveness are imposed on an existing social organization.

Based upon two years of extensive field work, in which the author covered every major aspect of policing at the precinct level in the New York City police department from manning the complaint desk to riding in squad cars. Ianni shows how the organized structure of the police department is disintegrating. The new “Management Cop Culture” is bureaucratically juxtaposed to the precinct level “Street Cop Culture,” and bosses’ loyalties to the social and political networks of management cops rather than to the men on the street causes a sharp division with grave consequences for the departments.

The study concentrates on a series of dramatic events, such as the suicide of a police officer charged with corruption, a major riot, and the trial of an officer accused of killing a prisoner while in police custody. Ianni traces how these events affected relationships among fellow officers and between officers and “bosses.”

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About the Author:

 

Elizabeth Reuss-Ianni is director, Organized Crime Program, National Council on Crime and Delinquency. She has co-authored, with Francis Ianni, several books and articles on crime, including A Family business: Kinship and Social Control in Organized Crime.

Review:

"Two Cultures of Policing is the most recent addition to Howard Becker's New Observations Series, and it is a worthy one. . . . The author's presentation strategy is straightforward. . . . The importance of the book lies in its persistent debunking of a theme underlying popular versions of police organization: the idea of a powerful and unified police culture that shapes the thought and action of all those caught in its embrace. . . . There is much to recommend this view."

—John Van Maanen, Contemporary Sociology

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Reuss-Ianni, Elizabeth
Published by Transaction Publishers (1982)
ISBN 10: 0878554696 ISBN 13: 9780878554690
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Elizabeth Reuss-Ianni
Published by Transaction Publishers (1982)
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