Investigation and Police Organization 'Discussion and Results' chapter

Excerpt from 'Discussion and Results' chapter :

evidence, it seems possible that an altercation occurred between the husband and wife and the two of them are 'covering' up this incident. Ideally, a detective with expertise in domestic violence cases should be in charge of the investigation. Separate officers should interview both the wife and husband before the couple has a chance to 'get their stories straight,' and note any inconsistencies between the two accounts. The other officers involved should attempt to exclude any other possible explanations for the injuries, eliminating the possibility that a so-called burglary did occur. The patrol officer who has established a rapport with the children should clearly be a presence during the interview process, given that children can be notoriously difficult interview subjects and it is helpful to have a comforting figure to support them. Interviewed independently, the children might be more forthcoming than either parent about the details of the husband's assault on the wife. However, given that the patrol officer is not of higher rank nor experienced in interviewing either minors or individuals involved in high-profile cases as an experienced investigator in this field, he should not conduct the interrogations alone. Another concern regarding interviewing children is the legal limitations placed upon interrogations. No states categorically prohibit the interrogation of minors without a parent present. However, some states do prohibit the interrogation of children unless the children consult with their parents first (Coppolo 2000).

Domestic violence cases often present frustrating psychological features for officers, given that the most reliable witness (the victim) is often unwilling to turn in her husband, for fear of repercussions or a false feeling that he is showing his 'affection' for her when he hurts her. The psychology of the battered wife is one reason why officers experienced in dealing with such issues should be placed in charge of the case. Also, for women who wish to leave but fear they cannot do so because they have 'nowhere to go,' the officers should be aware of social support such as battered women's shelters and other ways in which the wife can feel safe and protected -- and thus more comfortable about revealing the truth about her husband.


Coppolo, G. (2000). Interrogation of minors. Retrieved:

Evolution of police organizations

Police organizations have been described as particularly intransigent and unable to change similar to other large, Weberian bureaucratic entities. According to Jones (2008) one of the defining features of modern policing is complexity. The creation of the modern police force as an antidote to corruption and graft has not always been helpful, given that it has often resulted in the isolation of the police from the community the police are supposed to serve. However, unlike other bureaucratic organizations in the government, there is a limit to the extent to which police can ignore the public will, given the intimate nature of their interactions with the public on a daily basis. Because of their associations with the public as enforcers, the police have often been subjected to vociferous criticism when they have been perceived as overstepping their boundaries or abusing their power. Community policing and decentralizing of authority has been one way in which police have been brought back to the roots of community service and are encouraged to take an interest in the specific demographic needs and challenges of constitutents.

The shift to community policing is often conceptualized in a highly linear, top-down fashion. However, in the reality of policing, the shift is rarely so neat and seamless. "Many public managers have a misconception that the future is clear, stable, and predictable. The nature of change and the mode of police work done under community policing makes the future unpredictable because of the intricate interdependencies amongst the system's agents" (Jones 2008: 446). Ultimately, rather than a focus upon centralized, TQM (total quality management) principles, community policing functions best in which individual agents are given autonomy and can work to address the needs of the community in a more highly specified fashion. "Imposing vertical order on the change process will induce a percieved resistance to change amongst the organizational agents" (Jones 2008: 448). Although community policing can be experienced as a profound and uncomfortable change from previous, professional models of policing, if the officers feel like they are instrumental in orchestrating the change and their input in…

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