Police Patrol Organization


This research describes the structure of the patrol division of a metropolitan police department. Further, this research assesses the relevance of the contingency theory of management to the shape and design of the patrol division.

The Structure of the Patrol Division

The structure of the patrol division is first considered in the contexts of (1) task responsibility, (2) task definition, (3) hierarchy of authority, (4) task control, and (5) communication. In the context of task responsibility, the responsibilities of the patrol division within the police department are specific, separate, and specialized. Task definition for the patrol division is rigid within the overall police department structure, and task definitions within the patrol division are also rigid. The hierarchy of authority within the patrol division is characterized by strictness and complete rules. Task control within the patrol division is centralized at the top, and communication within the patrol division is primarily vertical in direction.

Within the context of the above description, the structure of the patrol division organization may be characterized as mechanistic. The differences between mechanistic and organic organizational structures are expressed in the context of the level of formal structure and control embodied in the two organizational concepts (Daft, 1991, pp. 6465). The characte



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