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Bending Granite Revisited: The Command Rank Structure of American Police Organizations

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Volume: 26 Issue: 2 Dated: 2003 Pages: 208-230
William R. King
Robert H. Langworthy
Date Published
23 pages
This paper explores the relationship between rank structure and various attributes of United States police organizations by treating rank structure as an independent variable.
Since the early 1970's, excessive rank structure in police organizations has been identified or linked to problems. This paper examines the command rank structure of police organizations in the United States. The paper begins by defining rank structure and reviewing prior critiques of police rank structure. Next, the hypothesized problems caused by excessive police rank structure are discussed, as well as an assessment of the evidence for each of these organizational problems through a review of police organizational and general organizational literature. The paper concludes with suggestions for both researchers and police management in light of what is known about police rank structure. It is intended to assist police leaders, suggesting that police leaders not blindly delayerize their rank structure, but first identify what exactly they hope to accomplish by delayerizing and consider alternatives. References