Re-Engineering the Police: A Process for Organizational Transformation in Law Enforcement

Kent H. Shafer, Columbus Division of Police

In recent years, much has been discussed and written on ways to improve policing in the United States. Police agencies large and small have begun initiatives to practice community oriented policing, problem oriented policing, and the latest area of interest, an adaptation of New York City Police Department's (NYPD) Compstat. Often the plans to practice these strategies have resulted in add-on programs to an agency operating much as it has for many years. Organizational philosophies, management paradigms, operational procedures, and officer attitudes and behaviors are often largely unchanged by the adoption of these strategies. In addition to NYPD, several other large departments (Chicago, Washington D.C., New Orleans, and Philadelphia) have also experienced major reform designed to improve effectiveness. Such organizational transformation requires a process of critical assessment of strengths and weaknesses, along with rethinking and redesign of the basic methods and structure of the agency. This paper discusses current problems in America policing and outlines a re-engineering process developed by the Columbus, Ohio Division of Police that might serve as a model for innovative reform.

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Updated 05/20/2006