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Book part
Publication date: 29 October 2012

Sean P. Varano and Joseph A. Schafer

Purpose – This chapter provides an overview to the challenges of policing both natural and man-made disasters. Questions surrounding police preparedness to respond to…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter provides an overview to the challenges of policing both natural and man-made disasters. Questions surrounding police preparedness to respond to large-scale disasters as well as the causes of failure are likely one of the single biggest system threats faced by police today.

Design/methodology/approach – The chapter starts out with a short discussion about the important impact the 9/11 attacks as well as both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had on policing in the United States. The materials presented also provide a conceptual framework for understanding the meaning of “disasters,” as well as making sense of the effectiveness of the police response. Finally, this chapter provides an overview of the role of police in disasters, and more importantly, their role in “creating order out of chaos” (Punch & Markham, 2000).

Findings – After more than 10 years of substantial attention to problems associated with responses to natural and man-made disasters, significant barriers remain in the level of communication and coordination among first responders. These barriers are best understood as cultural and not technical in nature.

Originality/value of paper – The conceptual role of police in both pre-disaster planning and post-disaster responses has been largely ignored in the literature. This chapter provides a strong framework for conceptualizing these roles. We argue that police, as core members of the first responder system, must continue to break down cultural barriers that diminish their capacities to effectively serve communities in the wake of disasters.

Details

Disasters, Hazards and Law
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-914-1

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2009

Joseph A. Schafer

Leadership plays a key role ensuring the achievement of desired outcomes in both formal and informal groups. Insufficient leadership in policing can result in significant…

Abstract

Purpose

Leadership plays a key role ensuring the achievement of desired outcomes in both formal and informal groups. Insufficient leadership in policing can result in significant negative consequences for agencies and their personnel. Despite the importance of effective leadership within police organizations little is known about the process of developing effective leaders and leadership behaviors. The paper contributes to the limited available empirical knowledge using data collected from police supervisors. The intent is to assess supervisors' perceptions of how leadership abilities might best be developed and to identify the barriers inhibiting such efforts.

Design/methodology/approach

Open‐ended surveys are administered to students attending the FBI's National Academy, a career development program for mid‐career police supervisors. Respondents report their experiences with and perceptions of leadership development. The purposive sample of respondents provides insights from supervisors representing police agencies of various sizes and types from around the world.

Findings

Respondents indicate leadership skills are best developed through a combination of education, experience, and mentorship. Developing more effective leadership is dependent on the ability to overcome barriers, both within the profession and within individual officers. Finite resources, macro and local aspects of police culture, and failures of leadership by current executives are all viewed as working against the growth of effective leadership practices.

Research limitations/implications

Given the dearth of empirical research considering dimensions of police leadership, myriad implications for future research are identified and discussed.

Originality/value

The findings provide important preliminary insights into the experiences and beliefs of police supervisors.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2002

Joseph A. Schafer

Community policing has been the focus of considerable research attention and financial support in recent years. Despite extensive inquiry, there are still many unanswered…

Abstract

Community policing has been the focus of considerable research attention and financial support in recent years. Despite extensive inquiry, there are still many unanswered issues surrounding this philosophy of policing. In addition, many studies of community policing have occurred in agencies which have specialized it as a program, rather than broadly generalizing it as a philosophy. This study seeks to overcome limitations in existing research by examining aspects of police attitudes toward community policing and testing the extent to which such attitudes are predicted by demographic and experiential variables. Data are drawn from a Midwestern police agency which was implementing generalized community policing. Results suggest that there is a distinction between global and specific perceptions, however different measures predict such attitudes. The implications of these findings for future research considering community policing attitudes among police officers are also discussed.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 9 November 2010

Joseph A. Schafer

Police leaders and leadership remain understudied within existing criminal justice scholarship. Using data derived from police supervisors participating in the Federal…

Abstract

Purpose

Police leaders and leadership remain understudied within existing criminal justice scholarship. Using data derived from police supervisors participating in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy program, the purpose of this paper is to examine effective leaders and leadership. Specific consideration is given to the traits and habits of effective and ineffective leaders, the assessment of leadership efficacy, the development of leaders, and the barriers to the expansion of more effective leaders and leadership in contemporary policing.

Design/methodology/approach

Surveys were administered to over 1,000 police supervisors. Respondents ranked the traits and habits of effective and ineffective leaders, methods to evaluate leadership efficacy, and barriers to the expansion of more effective leaders and leadership. Though a convenience sample, the supervisors represent a diverse mix of police agencies of various sizes and types from around the world.

Findings

Ratings suggest respondents saw effective and ineffective leaders as expressing nearly opposite sets of traits and habits. Efficacy was most strongly linked with integrity, work ethic, communication, and care for personnel; ineffective leaders were characterized as failing to express these traits. Respondents cast leadership development as a process best‐achieved through a mixture of training/education, experience, and feedback. Surprisingly, the most highly‐rated barriers to the expansion of effective leaders and leadership practices were not fiscal, but cultural, structural, and political.

Research limitations/implications

Findings suggest key policy implications for police organizations and the policing profession. Many highly‐rated traits and habits may be linked with personality traits; this could complicate the capacity of leadership development initiatives to enhance these behaviors. Results suggest development programs need to do more than simply expose students to a diverse set of theories and perspectives of leadership; mentoring and guided experience were also rated as helpful. Major barriers to the expansion of effective leadership were not issues easily or quickly overcome, complicating the long‐term prospects of enhancing the quality of leadership within policing.

Originality/value

Given the paucity of systemic and large‐scale studies of police leadership, the findings offer important parameters to guide future research efforts. Though some results validate what might be assumed about police leadership, that validation is largely absent from the extant literature. The results provide a starting basis to guide subsequent research assessing the outcomes, evaluation, and development of police leaders.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 33 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2009

Sameer Hinduja and Joseph A. Schafer

The purpose of this paper is to quantify the number of cybercrime units that are on the world wide web and the manner in which they represent themselves, and to clarify…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to quantify the number of cybercrime units that are on the world wide web and the manner in which they represent themselves, and to clarify how they are communicating information to their constituency (i.e. the visitors to their site) through new technology.

Design/methodology/approach

There is no sampling frame that serves as an exhaustive list of law enforcement departments with web sites, nor law enforcement departments with computer crime units, nor law enforcement departments with cybercrime unit web sites. As such, the world wide web was combed using popular search engines to find as many US‐based cybercrime unit web sites as possible. The final sample size was 88.

Findings

The findings suggest that though cybercrime units across the USA typically have similar missions (e.g. to respond to one or more forms of computer crime), they used their self‐representing web site in different ways. Beyond providing basic contact information and details about the cybercrime unit, web sites varied considerably in the depth and nature of their content. Units largely utilized these sites to simply exist on the world wide web. It was also unclear whether the sites actually fostered two‐way communication between agencies and their constituents. Sites also placed an emphasis on providing information that visitors might use to reduce their vulnerability to victimization through educational efforts.

Research limitations/implications

The sites in the sample all sought to inform their constituencies about the existence of the cybercrime unit they represent and the services they render, and to provide basic contact information. They seemingly differed, though, in the main intent and purpose of their site – which introduced variability in terms of the delivery of their content. Furthermore, disparities in available resources likely dictated the quality and depth of information presented on these sites.

Practical implications

This work assesses the current state of law enforcement information delivery over the world wide web, and also informs best practices in quality, depth, and comprehensiveness of that information delivery. This can then be used by law enforcement departments who have a cybercrime unit web site to improve its current state and fine‐tune communications and information dissemination efforts.

Originality/value

This is the first assessment of the world wide web presences of US law enforcement cybercrime units and contributes to the knowledgebase associated with agency communication with external entities.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

William Wells and Joseph A. Schafer

The purpose of this paper is to explore police officer perceptions of their contacts with the mentally ill and examine outcomes of an innovative police training program…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore police officer perceptions of their contacts with the mentally ill and examine outcomes of an innovative police training program designed to improve police handling of cases involving the mentally ill.

Design/methodology/approach

The study utilizes a sample of 126 police officer respondents from five departments in northern Indiana to understand their perceptions of important aspects of their contacts with the mentally ill.

Findings

Results show the actual dispositions for the mentally ill frequently do not match the outcomes officers desire, police training on responding to the mentally ill is not sufficient, and the training component of an innovative reform holds promise for improving officers' ability to respond to situations that involve the mentally ill.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to one community and results may not generalize to communities with distinct mental health resources. Perceptions of police contacts with the mentally ill were not obtained from mental health service providers, advocates, and persons with a mental illness.

Originality/value

Contacts between the police and the mentally ill pose complex challenges for officers. Advocates contend that too many persons with a mental illness end up in jail as a result of police contacts and, thus, promote jail diversion programs. For jail diversion to succeed it is critical to understand officer perceptions of the outcomes they desire for the mentally ill and the obstacles that inhibit appropriate dispositions. Evidence about the outcomes of specialized police training can improve officers' knowledge and perceived ability to respond to the mentally ill.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 30 May 2008

Joseph A. Schafer and Thomas J. Martinelli

The purpose of this paper is to examine supervisor perceptions of police integrity situations using the measurement of police integrity instrument. Additional survey…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine supervisor perceptions of police integrity situations using the measurement of police integrity instrument. Additional survey questions focused on aspects of integrity of particular relevance within the study agency. The latter concerned that agency's on‐going legal arrangement with the federal government to address alleged sub‐standard patterns and practices of officer/agency performance.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 478 sergeants and lieutenants from the study agency completed the survey instrument. This represented 97 percent of those asked to complete the instrument and approximately 60 percent of first‐line supervisors.

Findings

The results paralleled some aspects found in prior research, in particular that respondents cast themselves as having stronger integrity than their peers. Findings also illustrated potential weaknesses in efforts to enhance police integrity in light of federal intervention in the study agency.

Research limitations/implications

The findings represented the first focused effort to replicate the measurement of police integrity instrument among first‐line supervisors. Such personnel were key figures in efforts to modify deficient patterns and practices, making them a prime focus for research consideration.

Practical implications

The skepticisms expressed by some supervisors illustrated issues worthy of consideration in future efforts to enhance integrity in police organizations. First‐line supervisors play key roles in shaping officer conduct, particularly in larger agencies. As such, more consideration needs to be given to the role they play in organizational change efforts.

Originality/value

In addition to informing scholarly understanding through the measurement of police integrity instrument, the findings are of importance in applied efforts to enhance integrity or otherwise modify police organizations.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2005

Joseph A. Schafer

Field studies of police behavior have tended to focus on the generalized patrol function in major urban areas. Largely absent from this body of literature are…

Abstract

Purpose

Field studies of police behavior have tended to focus on the generalized patrol function in major urban areas. Largely absent from this body of literature are considerations of specialized units, particularly in smaller communities. Studies of police discretion often center on the arrest decision, giving less attention to other aspects of sanctioning discretion. This study seeks to examine how police officers in a mid‐western college community used leniency and coercion to negotiate order in policing the consumption of alcohol by college‐aged youth.

Design/methodology/approach

Field observations and interviews were used to study decision‐making patterns among both general patrol officers and personnel assigned to a specialized unit tasked with patrolling alcohol establishments.

Findings

Findings suggested that officers employed leniency in variable patterns, primarily based on duty assignment. At the same time, citizen demeanor was often a key in shaping sanctioning outcomes in alcohol‐enforcement encounters. Within the enforcement unit, interactions between officers and young adults were surprisingly amicable, despite the potential for more contentious relations.

Research limitations/implications

The use of qualitative methods in a single agency renders the findings exploratory in nature; further inquiry might examine the policing of youth drinking using more systematic means in similar communities.

Originality/value

Study findings contribute to understanding of police discretion by exploring the issue in an under‐studied venue and by contrasting enforcement decisions between officers with different duty assignments.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2012

Christin Thea Wathne

The purpose of this paper is to examine what decisions to prosecute, sent to the local police districts from the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine what decisions to prosecute, sent to the local police districts from the Norwegian Bureau for the Investigation of Police Affairs (the body responsible for investigated charges against the police), can tell us about the challenges the police face in becoming a learning organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The data for this paper were collected in connection with the subproject that studied how the police districts handled the cases they received from the Bureau for Administrative Evaluation. This project was carried out in 2008‐2009 and is based methodically on a study of 33 (of a total of 35) different cases from 2007, which ensures a broad thematic scope.

Findings

The willingness of the leadership to take responsibility for the organization's systematic ability – and liberty – to ask fundamental questions about dominant values and norms, and thus to promote experiential learning, varied greatly. Whether the administrative cases were perceived to belong on the individual or the organizational level had great impact on how the cases were defined when they came back to the local police district, which again decided how the cases were handled. This had consequences for the degree to which the cases were the subject of individual or collective learning processes in the police district.

Research limitations/implications

The role of the police as custodians of law and order may paradoxically limit the organization's ability to learn from potentially criminal events and cases that come from the Bureau for Administrative Evaluation. This contributes to a weak system focus and a strong individual focus, where individual shame bearers are created and double‐loop learning is avoided.

Practical implications

To ensure that the learning systems are actually used and function as intended, it might be apposite to have regular litmus tests of the development by analyzing the handling of concrete events and patterns which emerge over time. An important element in this connection is to observe how leaders deal with potentially shameful incidents, both internally and in the public light, and thus constitute the police organization's boundaries to the outside world.

Originality/value

The paper argues that the police's role as custodians of law and order paradoxically may contribute towards limiting the organization's ability to learn from potentially criminal events and cases that come from the Bureau for Administrative Evaluation.

Details

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, vol. 35 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1363-951X

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Book part
Publication date: 29 October 2012

Mathieu Deflem

In view of the global warming that has increasingly been plaguing the earth, it should be no surprise that the world has been witnessing an unprecedented wave of natural…

Abstract

In view of the global warming that has increasingly been plaguing the earth, it should be no surprise that the world has been witnessing an unprecedented wave of natural disasters over the past decades. Among the most important of these natural calamities in recent years, mention can be made of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004, hurricanes Katrina and Irene in the United States in 2005, cyclone Nargis in Burma in 2008, the Haiti earthquake of 2010, the Russian heat wave of 2010, the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Ranging from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, avalanches, and floods to heat waves, storms, and epidemics, the field of disaster research presents a myriad of questions for social-scientific exploration.

Details

Disasters, Hazards and Law
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-914-1

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