Now available in paperback, this provocative study examines the street-level decisions made by police, caught between a sometimes hostile community and a maze of departmental regulations. Probing the dynamics of three sample police departments, Brown reveals the factors that shape how officers wield their powers of discretion. Chief among these factors, he contends, is the highly bureaucratic organization of the modern police department.
A new epilogue, prepared for this edition, focuses on the structure and operation of urban police forces in the 1980s.
"Add this book to the short list of important analyses of the police at work....Places the difficult job of policing firmly within its political, organizational, and professional constraints...Worth reading and thinking about." —Crime & Delinquency
"An excellent contribution...Adds significantly to our understanding of contemporary police." —Sociology
"A critical analysis of policing as a social and political phenomenon....A major contribution." —Choice
MICHAEL K. BROWN is emeritus professor of politics, University of California, Santa Cruz