Organizational Specialization in Law Enforcement

Jeff Rojek, University of Missouri - St. Louis
David Klinger, University of Missouri - St. Louis

Various organizational theories assert that bureaucracies become more specialized over time. This paper discusses the implications of this assertion for the organizational structure and functioning of modern American police departments. It then uses LEMAS data to empirically trace the development of specialized law enforcement units in an attempt to assess the validity of the claims of organizational theorists about the nature and structure of bureaucratic growth. The paper concludes with a discussion of the utility of using organizational theory and other explanatory frameworks for understanding recent trends in American law enforcement.

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Updated 05/20/2006