Police Administration Structures in America

The principle divergence is in the professional ethos. The early reformers had rallied around the military analogy of conducting a "war on crime." Adoption of the new model of administration structure is viewed as a means of improving the image of police officers and carried with it the more "modest" aim of controlling or preventing rather than defeating crime.
The police administration structure is old fashioned based on bureaucratic principles and norms. The pervasive effect of task complexity on structure is highlighted by Newborn (2003). The task is viewed as so complex and variable as to require highly skilled professionals who are able to exercise discretion and interact in a collegial manner and collaborate on solutions. The administration structure that prescribe is spatially differentiated to allow informed neighborhood-level problem identification, and hierarchically undifferentiated to facilitate collegial, participative staff interaction, and has little or no structural specialization (either occupational or functional) in police operations so as to further encourage professional responsibility (Riener, 2000). Span of control, for example, ranges from wide to narrow. number of levels of authority ranges from few to many. degree of centralization in decision-making from low to high. and so on, depending on where the organization is on the organic-mechanistic continuum (Newborn, 2003).
These organizational structures are more or less appropriate, depending on the nature of the task and the nature of the community. Mechanistic organizations are better suited to routine tasks performed in stable environments, and that organic organizations are more appropriate when the tasks are less routine and the environments less stable (Riener, 2000). First is the view that the bureaucratic model is presently the dominant form or that police administration organizations tend to be too far out on the bureaucratic end of the continuum.