Police Accountability, Risk Management, and Legal Advising

Police Accountability, Risk Management, and Legal Advising

Police Accountability, Risk Management, and Legal Advising

Police Accountability, Risk Management, and Legal Advising


Carol A. Archbold is an Assistant Professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her research interests include police accountability, police liability management, media and crime, and race and the criminal justice system. She is the author of recent publications in Police Quarterly, and Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management. She earned her Ph. D. in 2002 from the University of Nebraska-Omaha.


This book represents a pioneering exploration of important but largely neglected aspects of policing and police accountability. The problem of police misconduct has been with us since the first American police departments were established about 170 years ago. Use of excessive force, unjustifiable fatal shootings of citizens, and other acts of misconduct continue to plague our society. They are also an important part of the racial and ethnic tensions that pervade our communities. While we have long known that these problems exist, we have only recently begun to address them in a serious fashion.

The question before us is not whether we should do something about police misconduct, but which remedy or combination of remedies is most effective. In recent years we have made significant progress in developing administrative controls over police use of force and other aspects of policing that pose a threat to the life, liberty, and well being of citizens. We have also developed a new tool, early intervention systems, to identify patterns of misconduct and do something about them. Finally, new forms of citizen oversight are bringing an important element of external citizen perspective to misconduct issues.

This book explores two important but long neglected accountability mechanisms. As Carol Archbold’s research indicates, the concept of police legal advisors first appeared more than thirty years ago. But as she explains, the idea never fully developed. At the same time, the idea of risk management is well established in other areas of American life, particularly private industry and health care. But it has never taken hold in American policing.

Carol Archbold’s book is an important contribution to the literature on police accountability. It not only explains the concepts of police legal advisors and risk management, but also provides valuable data on what mechanisms currently exist in American police departments - and even more important, what does not exist. I fully . . .

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