In the Presence of One's Peers: Blue Swarming and Its Implications for Everyday Patrol Work

Megan S. Stroshine, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Stephen D. Mastrofski, George Mason University

Contemporary police patrol work is often characterized as low visibility work, where officers operate individually, engaging the public in encounters by themselves. While this may have been an accurate characterization of patrol work at one time, recent systematic field observations of officers in Indianapolis and St. Petersburg suggest that even when officers are working alone, it is a common occurrence for two or more officers to appear at the scene of an encounter with the public. This paper descibes patterns in "blue swarming" and discusses its implications for certain aspects of the exercise of police authority.

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Updated 05/20/2006