An organization is said to be a group of people that is established to achieve a common set of goals through general approaches. (McNamara, 2007). Among the organizations rarely subjected to scrutiny is the police department. Although there are some investigations that study police organizations, many of those are focused on the study of the people within the organization and not the organization itself. Before a person can fully understand the people and the task within an organization, it is imperative for one to know their organizational context. (Cited in Wilson, 1989).
The organization of the police department is said to be bureaucratic in structure and applies paramilitary style of operation. The practice of bureaucratic organization is considered to be the most efficient of all organizational forms (Cited in Gerth & Mills, 1946) and is also a formal social organization which is characterized by its complex organizational structure, specialized sections, policies and procedures, a define hierarchical structure and career movement (Cited in Blau &Marshall, 1982; Dantzker, 1999; Gerth & Mills, 1946; March & Simon, 1978; Wilson & McLaren, 1977).
The police department is said to practice the bureaucratic way of administration because it maximizes efficiency, it is also considered to have a paramilitary style of operation because it incorporates the military-style of operation. Furthermore the police organization is also classified as tall and hierarchal meaning the organization follows chains of commands and the power is only applicable for the few who are on top especially those who are in the position of the command level. “Police organizations”). The aim of this paper is to answer the following question: Why is an organization is important to the effectiveness of the police department? Like any other people-oriented institutions the efficiency of a police department is accounted to its organization. In order for an organization to function well several important aspects are needed to be considered like the purpose. An organization is binded by common purpose and according to Kenney (1972):
The police are the primary civil agency of government responsible for criminal law enforcement, regulation of conduct and the protection of life and property. In a general sense they are responsible for assuring that orderly processes of government, business, industry and society as a whole may proceed with a minimum disruption. They also share responsibility for creation of an orderly environment in which social and economic change may take place with a minimum disorder and disruption.
Since the required tasks of the police are increasing nowadays, specialization is implemented in order to divide the labor. Based from a study, specialization reflects the principles and traditions of an organization and it is considered to be the basic feature of an organization. These specializations allows the organization to increase its complexity and as for the people working in the organization it allows them to develop their expertise, increase the comradeship among the members and upsurge their effectivity and efficiency. (“Police agencies are organizations”).
Although the police department may have a certain goal, the organization within the department is responsible for creating a diversified pool of members for the agency by determining and marking the capabilities of each person, the responsibility that they are assigned is properly placed to avoid the neglect of a mission. (Cited in Wilson and McLaren, 1977). Furthermore, the organizations establishment of specializations creates a ground for cooperation and open communication among the members as well as diversity and yet it is still able to maintain the overall picture of the organizational goal.
The organization of the police department plays a big role in giving directives to line officers in the area of its responsibility and to dispatch police officers to respond to the problems encountered by a certain area in the earliest time possible. In a study done by Dantzker (1998), he said that an organization is organized by a given time of the day or area. This is common in the organization of the police departments. One example that Dantzker gave is the patrol services. Generally the service is a 24- hour-a-day function thus most of the police departments uses 3 shifts.
The shifts are often coordinated by the areas like beat, zone, district, division and other geographical locations. It was suggested that it is imperative to know the needs of the environment where the organization will function so that fulfilling the goals and objectives will be much easier. Also, most of the actions taken by the line officers during their duties are accounted to the directives given to them by the directing officers and it was suggested that when officers are directed to high-crime areas and hot spots of crime makes patrol officers more proactive (Cited in Sherman et. l, 1997). However, not all the activities are directed to the officers in duty, some of the shifts are unassigned allowing officers to have self-initiated routines (Famega et al, 2005) and making them learn the value of accountability. In summary, the organization of the police department is imperative in the effectivity and efficiency not only of the whole agency but also the people within the circle.
The organization of the police department creates a common ground for the officers to know and give emphasis on the goals of the organizations and generally take part in doing their assigned roles. Needless to say the organization allows the department to work in accordance to what is directed and yet still be able take initiative on some of the assignments assigned to them so as to learn the value of accountability. Furthermore the organization of the department reflects the people who are moving within the agency and the whole operational process of the whole department.
Courtney from Study Moose
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