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Small Police Departments’ Organizational Analysis Research Paper

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Updated: Jul 11th, 2021


Leaders have to coordinate and monitor numerous operations if they are to take their organizations to the next level. The Four Frame Model is a powerful tool that researchers use to analyze how institutions operate and pursue their objectives. The four frames outlined in the framework include structural, political, human resource, and symbolic. This paper uses this model to understand the unique attributes that define small police departments in the United States.

Structural Frame

Government institutions play a significant role in the delivery of public services. Police departments also promote numerous activities that meet the needs of many citizens and their respective communities. In many small police units or units, a bureaucratic hierarchy exists whereby those in power guide and encourage all followers to act diligently and pursue the outlined goals. Analysts can deduce the main goals of such organizations from their mission statements. Many departments focus on the best actions and collaboration processes that can protect citizens and property and minimize crime (Burkus, 2014). They also focus on the best approaches to offer superior services to the greatest number of citizens in their respective communities or regions.

In terms of roles, all police officers receive adequate and timely resources in an attempt to complete their duties much faster. They get appropriate instructions and support to pursue their activities diligently. The issue of collaboration is essential to ensure that various activities, duties, and responsibilities are completed as planned. Stakeholders are also expected to act diligently, present reviews and ideas, and propose strategies for transforming police departments’ performance (Burkus, 2014). Those at the top design the best models for empowering officers and guiding them to achieve their potential.

Unlike in business organizations, the issue of rules is taken more seriously in every police department or organization. Burkus (2014) indicates that commanders and leaders encourage followers to identify and implement specific changes and practices that can add value to the targeted communities. There are also social links between departments and units, thereby making it easier for workers to share ideas and present their thoughts. With a vertical organizational structure, police officers and law enforcers are expected to follow the outlined code of conduct while communicating with their leaders directly. Groups are encouraged to formulate unique rules and guidelines that can support the delivery of security services within the shortest time possible.

All members of this corporation have their unique responsibilities and obligations. For instance, those at the top of the organizational structure formulate superior approaches that can support the delivery of high-quality services. Leaders also utilize their competencies to address emerging problems and formulate appropriate plans. They use their positions to guide, empower, and direct different teams or groups. Since there are middle-level managers, police officers are encouraged to form teams and identify the best initiatives that resonate with the “people-centered policing” concept (Othman et al., 2014). Officers can join specific like-minded teams and present their inputs or ideas to support their department’s goals.

Due to the existence of proper organizational culture, all individuals at any police department find it easier to take their responsibilities and duties seriously. They solve emerging problems, identify new sources of ideas, and support the intended organizational objectives. Additionally, many leaders encourage their followers to identify and consider projects that are capable of meeting the needs of members of the public in their respective regions (Burkus, 2014). Teams can collaborate and liaise with their counterparts from other divisions. This structural frame analysis shows clearly that many police departments outline the best roles, responsibilities, and goals for all officers, thereby making it easier for them to maintain law and order in all communities across the country.

Human Resource Frame

Leaders of small police departments should involve, guide, and mentor officers efficiently if positive results are to be recorded. Such actions and philosophies have the potential to make many units competitive and successful. Police departments establish human resource (HR) divisions that consider powerful practices and strategies for supporting their long-term and short-term goals. The first issue that all leaders consider is that of culture. This field empowers managers and HR departments to create the best working environments for all police officers (Sulaiman, 2015). They offer appropriate incentives, resources, and guidelines to motivate them. The existing structures, models, and processes support the needs of all police officers and staff members, thereby ensuring that they remain committed and happy about their work.

HR managers achieve this goal by promoting positive relationships among law enforcers. Many departments support the creation of groups and teams that pursue specific projects or activities. Leaders maintain hierarchies in all departments in an attempt to improve communication processes and ensure that orders are executed effectively. Police officers can communicate with their managers indirectly, seek guidance, and offer insights for improving organizational performance (Sulaiman, 2015). The concept of openness encourages workers to share notions with each other in order to make the targeted department successful. The idea of smartness also compels individuals in many police departments or organizations to consider the most appropriate action plans that can deliver positive results.

Collegiality is an idea that different stakeholders in the United States’ law enforcement take into consideration. As described earlier, police officers, leaders, and departmental heads cooperate since they acknowledge that they have similar responsibilities or goals. They engage in activities that will respond to the growing demands of the communities they serve. They find it easier to address specific challenges, including drug use, crime, robbery, investigation, and emergencies. They also form groups that support the delivery of positive results within the shortest time possible (Sereni-Massinger & Wood, 2016). Adequate resources and rewards are considered to support the concept of collegiality. American police officers receive competitive remunerations and allowances, thereby being ready to collaborate and pursue their goals diligently. The practice also ensures that decisions are made efficiently or seamlessly.

In most cases, police personnel maintains social ties in an attempt to minimize the time taken to launch and complete various projects. The existing culture results in a family-company ambiance that encourages all people to share ideas, support or mentor each other, and propose ideas for promoting community policing (Othman et al., 2014). Recently, many executives have been willing to interact and associate with all officers to improve performance. Such ties continue to guide and empower all workers to present insights for responding to changing community demands.

From this analysis, it is notable that leaders of many police departments in this country understand the unique needs of their security personnel. They support the concept of simple teams to deliver results in a timely manner. The HR department provides relevant recruitment and training services, transportation, career development, and work-life balance to all officers (Burkus, 2014). They also have access to free food, medical insurance cover, friendly working environments, and managed work procedures. Such measures result in constant employee engagement and motivation. Consequently, all workers identify the most appropriate initiatives and practices that can minimize crime cases and maintain order.

Political Frame

Chief officers in charge of police departments influence people’s behaviors and attitudes, formulate goals, and dictate how law and order activities are to be executed. Sereni-Massinger and Wood (2016) indicate that those who have power in such units tend to use their positional authority to control, guide, and empower their followers. Successful chief officers will use their abilities to make superior decisions and promote actions that are in accordance with the established code of conduct for the police. There are also those who are below this leader. These individuals will offer their inputs, address the needs of all followers, and engage in activities that will eventually deliver the intended goals. The existence of a hierarchical leadership structure shows that a chain of command exists to ensure that all activities and operations are completed seamlessly and efficiently.

It is notable that chief officers and their deputies have power and should act in accordance with their bosses’ wishes. This means that they use their positions to assert authority and compel followers to act diligently in order to promote law and order. The reason why this is the case is that different police departments can be at risk of failing to deliver positive results without a defined source of authority. Leaders consider their prestigious positions to guide and force officers to do what is right (Othman et al., 2014). The most important thing is for police officers to protect against any form of crime, theft, oppression, or torture. They also follow presented orders to respond swiftly to emergencies or security threats. Those who are concerned with traffic offenses will also deliver positive results in accordance with the presented goals. This analysis reveals that the use of this kind of power is something essential in police departments since it seeks to promote law and order in the targeted community. The practice also ensures that public property is protected against theft, arson, or any other form of destruction.

The use of power groups is an evidence-based model for ensuring that outlined goals are recorded within a short period. In many police departments, leaders collaborate and liaise with commanders in disciplined forces or units. They might go a step further to form coalitions that have the potential to deliver the intended objectives. Coordinated initiatives have ensured that these services are available to the greatest number of citizens: assistance to crime victims, law enforcement, maintenance of social or public order, and response to emergencies (Sereni-Massinger & Wood, 2016). With proper guidance and support, officers can patrol assigned areas, arrest those engaging in criminal activities, testify in different court cases, and enforce laws accordingly.

Chief officers go further to appoint leaders who can deliver the intended objectives. They encourage the elected police personnel to form power coalitions to ensure that high-quality and timely security services are available to the greatest number of citizens in the identified communities or regions (Gultekin, 2014). This model is something that continues to support the effectiveness and performance of many police units and departments in the United States. Consequently, the levels of social unrest and criminal offenses have diminished significantly.

Symbolic Frame

Police culture is a field that has attracted the attention of many researchers and organizational theorists. This is the case since officers tend to portray specific norms, rituals, ceremonies, and beliefs that define them. Burkus (2014) goes further to indicate that such attributes have been changing over the years. Before the 1990s, police departments were studied as organizations that promoted autocratic leadership practices and relied on direct orders to achieve their goals (Sereni-Massinger & Wood, 2016). The concept of hyper-masculinity was evident whereby officers engaged in risky behaviors and actions in an attempt to assert their positions in society. Police leaders were also observed to influence the recruitment of juniors using unethical and ineffective decision-making procedures. Within the past two decades, many officers have become more friendly and capable of tackling most of the issues they face from an informed perspective. In terms of norms, individuals are expected to follow existing regulations and commands.

The unique assumptions include the need to act on behalf of the government, remain secretive, and ensure that members of the public are afraid of them. Rituals, ceremonies, and celebrations also form an integral aspect of police culture. This is the case since they usually organize meetings, graduation events, and reward programs. They engage the public in an attempt to achieve the goals of community policing. The leading beliefs include the obligation to be on the frontline, the ability to remain assertive, and the idea that anti-police bias (Sereni-Massinger & Wood, 2016). These cultural aspects are expected to change in the future and make officers more responsible.

There are unique key symbols and artifacts with which different police departments associate. For example, many people consider their uniforms as a sign of social control. This is true since officers are expected to monitor various activities while staying away from members of society. They should always be available to offer the required support and protection. The major artifacts associated with police departments include the presence of a physical working environment, language, dress code, observable ceremonies, and rituals (Othman et al., 2014). These aspects make it easier for people to define and identify police officers and their unique responsibilities.

The core value-driven mission of many police departments focuses on the best approaches that can make them respectable and meaningful to all citizens. The leaders of such organizations guide their officers to provide evidence-based services that can meet the needs of many people. They do so by acquiring and utilizing the right resources, formulating appropriate action plans, and making superior decisions to promote security (Gultekin, 2014). They should also utilize their competencies to monitor suspicious activities and respond in a professional manner.

With such symbolic attributes, police officers should act diligently, show compassion, remain realistic, and apply integrity in order to provide desirable services to all citizens. They have to be aware of the outlined core value-driven missions of their respective departments, form teams and identify emerging trends that can support their activities (Othman et al., 2014). Such measures will make it easier for them to achieve their goals and empower more citizens in the communities they serve.


In conclusion, organizational leaders should be aware of evidence-based structures and cultural attributes that can guide employees to deliver positive results. The paper has revealed that police departments can consider the Four Frame Model to identify existing strengths and address existing gaps. Such a move can empower officers to provide exemplary community policing, crime prevention, property protection, and security services.


Burkus, D. (2014). Harvard Business Review. Web.

Gultekin, K. (2014). The reform era of policing: How does organizational structure influence organizational culture? European Scientific Journal, 10(8), 508-518.

Othman, R., Omar, N., Azam, A., Ibrahim, S., Farouq, W. A., Rustam, N., & Aris, N. A. (2014). Influence of job satisfaction and codes of ethics on integrity among police officers. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 145, 266-276. Web.

Sereni-Massinger, C., & Wood, N. (2016). Improving law enforcement cross cultural competencies through continued education. Journal of Education and Learning, 5(2), 258-264. Web.

Sulaiman, Y. (2015). Exploring the effect of organization culture factors on job satisfaction: A Study of Polis Diraja Malaysia. Journal of Economics and Development Studies, 3(3), 165-168. Web.

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