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The Concept of Oversight Review of Police Activities

The public interest in policing is centered in efficiency, responsiveness, and accountability (Elling, 1983). Unfortunately for the police administrator, the public typically does not consider the implications that demands in one of these interest areas may have on the ability of the police organization to perform in one of the other areas.

Policing is a part of the political system within a society. In this context, policing not only serves society, it is shaped by societal values and norms. Public interest in polic ing, thus, is vital, because, in large measure, such interest will shape the future of policing.

An important change which is in the process of occurring in contemporary American public administration is a change in the way in which public administrators are held accountable for their actions. In the past, public administrators have often been able to circumvent the intent of elected officials through the ways in which they implemented programs (Grizzle, 1985). In the lastquarter of the twentieth century, public administrators are beginning to be held responsible by the public for program outcomes (Grizzle, 1985). The civilian review of police activities is a part of this process (Hensley, 1988).


In the lastquarter of the twentieth century, the demands placed upon police officers in American society are far more complex and difficult than were those placed on the police from 1951 through 1975. Further, the potential for additional and significant changes in these demands over the coming years appears to be strong. The complex demands placed on police officers in contemporary American society may be appreciated through a consideration of the following factors:

1. Police departments are expected, by society, to preserve order and to enforce the law. In accomplishing these objectives, police, at times, i...

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The Concept of Oversight Review of Police Activities. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:44, August 18, 2017, from
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