Tuesday, September 02, 2014

PD unsatisfactory? Get a new one--Camden NJ did

"Fixing" problems in many public (e.g., police) and private (e.g. corporation)  institutions is extremely difficult.  Part of this is because the status quo is supported by various vested interests (e.g. contractors, unions).  Another factor is the existence of dysfunctional cultures/subcultures within the institution.  These informal norms (e.g. code of silence, kickbacks) often take precedence over law and agency rules. This is sometimes referred to an an occupational subculture.  Perhaps the most-studied is the subculture of law enforcement agencies.  These subcultures are not identical, but have many common features.  One of the worst examples is NYPD which has had massive problems for years which persist despite investigations, commissions, "reforms" more training, convictions, millions of dollars in civil judgments,  new mayors and commissioners, etc., etc., etc.  Perhaps the only real solution is a whole new police force.  Sounds unrealistic, but Camden NJ did it, and things appear to have improved. Some PD's (e.g., NYPD, LAPD) may be too big and  be situated such that this cannot be done, but it may be the only real cure.

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