SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Scott, J. E. (2010). Evolving strategies: A historical examination of changes in principle, authority, and function to inform policing in the twenty-first century. The Police Journal, 83, doi: 10.1358/pojo.2010.83.2.490

Summary: Since September 11, evolving social values and civic priorities suggest the need to revisit current policing styles and strategies in order to best meet the needs of society. To provide a basis for determining which style of policing is most appropriate in contemporary society, this narrative examines how policing has evolved through a presentation of traditional “Peelian” philosophy as compared and contrasted to the contemporary community-oriented approach. The ontogeny of policing is presented in historical phases to clearly depict the changes implemented, examining philosophical principles, power, and function. A discussion regarding measurement of police effectiveness lends further consideration to the efficacy of current policing strategies. Contradictions in policing styles, along with implementation of adversarial police structures, bring about dubious outcomes in practical application. To remain effective, police style and strategies must acknowledge structural and organizational hardships and remain mindful of the citizens they “serve and protect” in the process.

Questions to Consider:

  1. Why was it thought that the London Metropolitan Police “threatened the leisure and livelihood of many British citizens?”
  2. As police became more professional, how did their goals shift?
  3. What are some of the challenges of evaluating police effectiveness under the community policing model?


Article 2: Smith, B. W., Novak, K. J., Frank, J., & Lowenkamp, C. (2005). Explaining police officer discretionary activity. Criminal Justice Review, 30(3), 325–346. doi: 10.1177/0734016805285260

Summary: Existing research on the activities of police officers has examined a range of police behaviors and decision processes. The present article attempts to delineate factors that influence the daily discretionary choices of officers concerning the activities they undertake on a daily basis. By empirically examining the contribution of officer and community factors on decisions to engage in a variety of typical police activities, this article provides a more complete understanding of factors that influence the work-related decisions of street-level police officers. Using systematic social observation data on both community-oriented and traditional beat officers, multivariate models are developed to explain officers’ daily activities. The findings reveal that neighborhood level and attitude variables influenced community and traditional police officers differently. Overall, the individual-level attributes of officers did not influence activity choices of either type of officer. These findings are discussed in the context of community policing within the city studied.

Questions to Consider:

  1. How do the authors define “discretionary time?”
  2. Which community-level factor was related to community police officer activities? Why did the authors consider this to be an unexpected result?
  3. How did race influence the types of discretionary behavior a beat officer engaged in?