Dispatches

Philadelphia Police Headquarters Buiilding

I was earlier today contemplating this statue, which stands outside of the Philadelphia Police Department Headquarters at 8th and Race Sts.  Note the quintessential 1950s “professional officer” style of uniform… and also how there is a gun on his right hip, a little girl on his left hip.   All kinds of signification going on here…  N.B. also that the Philly PD HQ (partially visible in the photograph, behind the statue) looks like a set of locked handcuffs from an aerial view.

Police “material culture”

Aside
Pedagogy

Police Accountability Theory

I’ve been helping out with some “applied criminology” courses at the University of Cambridge being run out of the Institute of Criminology there, and the majority of students are UK police officers.  Next term, some of them will write an essay that aims to answer the following question:

“You are the chief constable of an agency that has been criticized over poor accountability because officers policing a demonstration concealed their name tags. Select a criminological theory relevant to this phenomenon, then design an evidence-based strategy for improving accountability in light of that theory. Describe the research methods you would use to evaluate the effectiveness of the strategy, and the leadership plan for carrying the entire effort forward.”

I am putting together a “core reading list” for persons who choose this essay question, and wondering if anyone has suggestions for “recommended readings” regarding theories of police accountability.  Of course, the question specifically mentions “criminological theory”–but up to now, I have only found a few things in the “usual suspects” type criminology/police readers (i.e., “Policing: Key Readings” and “Handbook of Policing” edited by Tim Newburn).  So anything is welcome.  If you have ideas for the “research methods” part of the question, by all means share them please; but I’m mostly concerned about the theory part.  Good ethnographic pieces are also welcome.

Standard