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Guardian Angels: The Related Social Issues (From Police and Policing: Contemporary Issues, P 225-238, 1989, Dennis Jay Kenney, ed. -- See NCJ-121271)

NCJ Number
D J Kenney
Date Published
14 pages
The Guardian Angels have several characteristics that justify their labeling as modern vigilantes; in addition, the weaknesses in their screening and training procedures and their dependence on a charismatic leader indicate that they are a potentially unstable organization.
The Guardian Angels are clearly extralegal law enforcers in that their activities include not only the visible functions like subway patrols, but also undercover operations. In addition, some of their recruitment messages emphasize the use of violence. Their national organization permits considerable local autonomy. Screening and training are minimal, as revealed by Chicago newspaper reporter Michael Cordts, who clandestinely joined the Chicago chapter to learn more about the organization. Finally, the leader, Curtis Sliwa, is clearly a charismatic leader, and several recent developments suggest that the organization is experiencing many types of strains that jeopardize its long-term stability. 21 references.


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