U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Ambivalent Force: Perspectives on the Police, Third Edition

NCJ Number
A S Blumberg; E Niederhoffer
Date Published
452 pages
These 46 articles examine the role of the police in both the past and the present, with emphasis on the ambiguities and ambivalences inherent in the police role.
The analyses are written from the perspectives of behavioral science, journalism, psychiatry, law, law enforcement, history, and administration. They include a discussion of the social and historical contexts in which the police function; the impacts of race, class, ethnicity, gender, occupational speciality, and training on the police role; and the organizational and institutional constraints within which the police operate. The sources of the police values of loyalty, authoritarianism, and defensiveness are surveyed, and police corruption is examined. Police discretion is considered in terms of the underlying social, organizational, psychological, and ideological variables. Police relations with urban minorities and other urban communities and the police response to terrorism are also discussed. Further sections consider the legal issues affecting the police, controversies surrounding the police role, the police use of deadly force, police stress, and the dynamics of family relationships of police personnel. A concluding section considers the future of policing, police education, and police unionism. Figures, chapter reference lists, glossary, index, and 629 references.