Deregulating the Public Service: Can Government Be Improved?

By John J. Diiulio Jr. | Go to book overview

10
Policing: Deregulating or
Redefining Accountability?

Mark H. Moore

OVER the past decade, many of the nation's leading law enforcement practitioners and analysts have come to support the general ideas of community-based policing, and scores of jurisdictions have tried some form of it. Yet, despite the widespread enthusiasm, community-based policing remains more an aspiration than a reality. One major but often overlooked reason is that it requires changes in administrative ideas and operations that are inherently difficult to make and incredibly hard to sustain. Community-based policing means at least two things: bringing police officers and citizens into working partnerships at the neighborhood level and giving the police responsibility for identifying and solving neighborhood problems even if they are not conventional law enforcement matters. Thus traditional command-and-control forms of police organization must give way to forms that are less centralized, less rule-oriented, and less regulation-bound. Deregulation may well be the key to community-based policing.

In the analysis that follows, I will not dwell on community-based policing itself. Rather, my account of the administrative evolution of police bureaucracies will provide a window on deregulation and other reform strategies. Deregulation is a key to the development of community-based or kindred forms of policing, but only if deregulation means not merely mechanical changes in personnel and procurement procedures, flattened hierarchies, and the like, but also fundamental, discretion-enhancing changes in how police and other public servants define and act upon their accountability to the public. This vision of deregulation extends not only to police and other bureaucrats who interact directly and personally with the public but also to technical personnel, senior officials, and other

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