Organizational structure of a Police Force

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1. The purpose of an organizational structure is to assign the workload, make certain the lines of authority and responsibility are assigned and understood, and establishes a chain of command. The larger and more specialized the agency is the more vertical the structure will become. Some elements in a basic police agency include operations and support. Operations include personnel that are active in the field. Within operations there can be patrol, investigative, and youth.

The patrol function is the primary element in operations including conducting traffic and criminal investigations and routine patrols. The support element contains the staffing and auxiliary elements. Incorporated in the staffing element are personnel concerned actions like recruiting, training, promotions, and public information services. The auxiliary element includes functions that are not normally observed by civilians. These activities entail jail management, property and evidence, crime lab services, communication processes, and records and identification.

2. The role a police executive has is to deal with managerial concerns.  The two primary police executives are the police chief and the county sheriff. The sheriff is responsible for maintaining and operating the county correctional facilities, serving civil processes and duties, collecting certain taxes, and occasionally serving as a bailiff. As police chief it is vital to stay well connected with the community, subordinates, municipal leaders, and significant others. Acting as a police executive is a networking job. Below police executive come middle managers, which are the captains and lieutenants. Middle managers are responsible for inspecting assigned operations, reviewing reports, helping develop plans and schedules, overseeing record and equipment, managing confiscated property, and enforcing all laws and orders. Read about Apple organizational structure

They are also in charge of sergeants and all other officers. Below the middle managers are the first-line supervisors or sergeants. The job of a first-line supervisor is to keep subordinates doing their finest. Communicating, motivating, mediating, mentoring, leading, team building, training, developing, appraising, counseling, and disciplining are some of the everyday jobs first-line supervisors perform. Traits of a bureaucracy include people working towards a common goal, placing specific duties in departments with a hierarchy structure, and there is an understood chain of command. Police organizations function as a bureaucracy to designate authority and responsibility in an organized fashion. Each agency is structured into units. Police chiefs, sheriffs, captains and lieutenants, and first-line supervisors make sure that the units work mutually towards a common purpose.

3. In the Mintzberg model, sets of behaviors and tasks are depicted according to Henry Mintzberg’s theory on CEOs in any organization. The Mintzberg model consists of three key roles of police executive. The first is the interpersonal role, which includes performing ceremonial functions like swearing in ceremonies, visiting injured officers, and speaking at graduations. Being a figurehead, police executives are obligated to attend as many of these functions as possible. They also serve as liaisons between other agencies and coordinate work flow to resolve goals and needs in the department. The second major role in the Mintzberg model is the informational role.

This includes the monitoring and disseminating information, as well as acting as spokesperson. Constant observation is necessary to ensure smooth operations. Police executives are accountable for the distribution of information within the department as well as publicly. The third role in the Mintzberg model is the decision-maker role, which includes being an entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource distributor, and negotiator. Being an entrepreneur for the department includes going in front of the department board to convince them of materials that are necessary. Occasionally, several police executives will band together to go to the legislative body if they feel new policing laws are needed.

As the disturbance handler they deal with all degrees of problems from riots to staff disputes. Next is resource distributor, which is having a clear idea of the budget, priorities, as well as the ability to say no to subordinates. Being a negotiator is another function because being able to resolve staff complaints and issues is fundamental to running a smooth operating department. Police executives are also members of the negotiating team for labor relations.

After reviewing all of the roles a police executive is responsible for I think some of the workload could be delegated to either middle managers or first-line supervisors. I agree with the need for the police executives to have a constant presence, but I don’t think their time is used wisely dealing with staff disputes and minor issues. The Mintzberg model seems to outline the roles well and for most of the roles and functions depicted I agree can only be completed by a police executive. I don’t believe that police executives should be dealing with department issues unless it’s critical for them to step in. It should be the officers within the office and the supervisors’ job to control subordinates.

4. The New York City Compstat is a database collecting system. It is not a software or computer system. It is used to develop weekly crime statistics to monitor new crime trends. Compstat was intended to map and identify problems. Weekly reports are developed in each precinct, and meetings are held with the highest ranking officers in the New York Police Department in attendance. Compstat analyzes and identifies crimes trend that are occurring. At the weekly meetings the officers decide on the measures needed to be taken in order to best deal with the crime pattern.

I believe this program is a fantastic idea. Compstat is more precise than a person would be at collecting the information, and it makes it possible to locate where the areas are that need more resources. The only issue with this process is that it doesn’t seem like it would be as effective in rural areas. This should be used in large cities to help strategize in crime prevention. Other cities and jurisdictions with high populations should have this program to aid in their policing. It could one day become a critical crime prevention tool. From what I have read, the cities that already use this program have been having good results.

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