Investigating Police Coordination
Public poiice work creates boundaries and divisions as well as connections and networks, in their actions in and on a society, police arc in one sense ‘people processing’ (Hasenfeld 1972), dividing law abiders from those in need of state control; filtering those in need of control between various punitive, restorative, or ameliorative avenues of justice and redress; and creating citizens, denizens, and criminals through their enforcement decisions, deployment patterns, and investigation tactics (Erlcson 1981; Ericson 1982; Huey 2007; Skolnick 1994). Within the sphere of police organization, police activity is separated, if also interconnected, between national and sub-national jurisdictions and locally between sub-local districts or precincts. Within districts and precincts, police share work between units of various names, specializations, and sophistication, and within units, they divide work tasks between ranks and positions. It is this latter organizational dimension of boundary creation that motivates this text, especially insofar as the internal organization of police work influences the external tasks of dividing up groups and opportunities in a society.
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