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Limits of Team Policing?

NCJ Number
Police Studies Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1980) Pages: 21-29
S M Talarico; C R Swanson
Date Published
9 pages
Team policing is described, and a survey of traditional and team policing agencies is presented which shows that team policing is better for small than large police agencies.
Team policing balances the need for police efficiency with the desire of citizens for decentralized, more reponsive policing. Under the system, a team of officers assumes 24-hour responsibility for planning, crime control, and police community services within an area. Team policing differs from traditional policing in that it makes less use of the quasi-military police structure, replacing 100-250 man precincts with several 20-40 man teams; emphasizes community relations and decentralized planning; and exercises some control over specialized police units. However, its results have been ambiguous and some cities, having tried it, have returned to the traditional police structure. To test team policing, the attitudes of police from four departments were surveyed as team policing and traditional departments were compared in Florida and New York. The New York departments served communities of over 250,000 people, while the Florida communities consisted of from 25,000 to 50,000 people. Results show that team policemen in Florida are more satisfied with their jobs, thus perhaps more effective, but also more authoritarian. However, attitudes in the New York departments did not vary substantially, suggesting that traditional bureaucracy remains in large police departments using team policing. Thus, it is concluded that team policing is not workable in these large departments. Tables and 36 notes are included.


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