Policing as Though People Matter

Dorothy Guyot
Book Cover

PB: $35.95
EAN: 978-0-87722-766-3
Publication: Feb 91

HC: $51.50
EAN: 978-0-87722-755-7
Publication: Feb 91

448 pages

What makes a good police department?

Read an excerpt from Chapter 1 (pdf).


In this work, Dorothy Guyot asks: What makes a good police department? In analyzing the transformation of the police department in Troy, New York. she explains a set of standards by which the quality of police service can be judged and illustrates a way to improve services over the long run. Throughout her case study and analysis, Guyot asks penetrating questions about the performance of police departments. She maintains that when police officers are treated as professionals by their department, they will act professionally toward citizens. This examination of fifteen years of policymaking within a single department looks at policing as a complex social service in an urban environment.

Rather than accepting the traditional "chain of command" authoritarian model of police administration, Guyot draws an analogy to hospital organization and suggests that the practitioner, whether a physician or a cop on the beat, performs the service with a tremendous amount of discretion. It follows that better management tactics at the police chief level as well as better employment policies will result in more responsible and dedicated policing by officers. The author demonstrates how, under the leadership of George W. O’Connor, the Troy P.D. changed from a backward department to one that promotes competence, as well as concern for citizens, among its individual officers.

The book is organized by issues and provides a full picture of how upgrading can be achieved through clear and specific goals. Throughout this case study, Guyot provides many examples of the behavior of police officers on the street, to illustrate the differences made by restructuring the department.


"This unique book is an important contribution to the field of policing. It incorporates the case study of organizational change in the Troy Police Department, a textbook on police administration, and a manifesto on police reform. Guyot intermingles these three aspects in a surprising and fascinating fashion by utilizing well-selected and diversified anecdotes. These anecdotes become classic ethnographies of police leadership that are not readily available in the literature currently dominated by street-officer perspectives. For anyone interested in the complexities of police leadership, this is a stimulating and provocatively written book." —Lawrence W. Sherman, University of Maryland

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables

Part I: Service by Professional Police Officers

1. Two Transformations in Police Upgrading
Police Work • The Transformation toward Professional Police Administration • The Transformation toward Professional Police Officers • The Pace of the Two Transformations • What Makes a Good Police Department? • Overview of the Book

2. Overcoming Inertia
Resistance to Change • Critique from the Perspective of Professional Administrators • Fear of Change • The Commissioner • Overcoming the Fear of Change • Opportunities and Resources for Growth • Civil Service and Union Impediments • Leaving the Cowpath for New Roads • Authority over Police

3. Patrol Officers: General Practitioners Who Make House Calls
The Diverse Work of Patrol • Skill in the Use of Discretion • Police Service as Evaluated by Recipients • Response Time as a Misused Performance Measure • Consumer Demand as a Rough Measure of Consumer Satisfaction • The Long, Hard Road to Open Exercise of Discretion

4. The Hospital Model
Insights from Organization Theory • An Overview of the Hospital Model • The People Attracted to Police Work • Increasing Individual Accountability • Weak Departmental Accountability • Increasing the Skills and Status of Police Officers • Similarities between Policing and Public Health Medicine

Part II: Coping with Crime

5. Arrests
Legal Arrests • Proper Treatment of Prisoners • A Broad Base of Public Involvement • Arrest Performance • Organizational Changes to Facilitate Burglary Arrests • Court Outcomes of Arrest • Using the Hospital Model to Produce New Patterns of Arrest

6. Solving Crime Problems
The Crime Index as a False Performance Measure • Preventing Crimes by Working with Youth • Reducing the Access of Potential Offenders • Crime Prevention through Work with Potential Victims Helping Victims

7. From Fear of Crime to Sense of Safety
Wave of Fear • Throwing Manpower at Crime • A Building to Radiate Crime Prevention • Crime Problems and Fear Problems • Explaining the Sense of Safety from Criminal Attack • A Conflict over Crime News • Police Programs to Promote a Sense of Protection • Friendly Relations to Promote a Sense of Protection

Part III: Police Power

8. Police Malpractice
Instances of Police Malpractice • Shortcomings of Disciplinary Systems • Estimating Levels of Malpractice • Systematic Promotion of Professional Practice

9. Union Power
Union Perspectives • Union Solidarity • Bread-and-Butter Issues • Protecting Members from Management • Police Associations in Various Arenas • Contractual Impediments to Enhancement of Service • Contractual Support for Professional Service • The Structural Basis of Union-Management Power Struggles

10. Political Accountability versus Political Interference
Interference in Personnel Matters • Distinctions between Political Accountability and Interference • The Political Context of Directing a Police Department • Appointment of a Police Manager as a Tool for Accountability • Limited Accountability through the Budget Process • Elections: Confusion without Accountability • Interference and Accountability Exercised by the City Council • Summary of Accountability on Service • Summary on Police Power

Part IV: Excellence in Police Service

11. Building Bridges between Police and Public
Peaceful Use of the Streets by Everyone • Officers and Citizens Being Human Together • Common Misguided Attempts to Build Bridges • Four Fundamental Ways to Build Bridges • Police Officers and Citizens as Part of the Same Community

12. Fairness
Fairness in Law Enforcement • Fairness in the Provision of Service • Learning the Courage of Commitment • Structures to Increase Fairness

Appendix: Some Worthwhile Questions
General Index
Author Index

About the Author(s)

Dorothy Guyot, a faculty member at St. John’s College, Annapolis, was previously an Associate Professor at the School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University and at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She was also a management analyst for the Yonkers Police Department.