1st Edition

Police Reform from the Bottom Up Officers and their Unions as Agents of Change

Edited By Monique Marks, David Sklansky Copyright 2012

    What role can and should police unions and rank-and-file officers play in driving and shaping police reform? Police unions and their members are often viewed as obstructionist and conservative, not as change agents. But reform efforts are much more likely to succeed when they are supported by the rank-and-file, and line officers have knowledge, skills and insights that can be invaluable in promoting reform. Efforts to involve police unions and rank-and-file officers in police reform are less common than they should be, but they are increasing, and there is a good deal to learn about policing, police reform and participatory management from the efforts made to date.

    In this pioneering volume, an international, cross-disciplinary collection of scholars and police unionists address a range of neglected questions, both empirical and theoretical, about the place of police officers themselves in the process of reform – what it has been, and what it could be. They provide a fresh view of police reform as occurring from the bottom up rather than the top down. This book will be highly useful for practitioners and scholars who have a serious interest in the possibilities and limits of police organizational change.

    This book is based on special issues of Police Practice and Research and Policing and Society.

    1. Introduction: The role of the ranks and file and police unions in police reform Monique Marks, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and David Sklansky, University of California, Berkeley, USA

    Part I: The rank-and-file as change agents

    2. Police Reform: Who Done It? David Bayley, State University of New York, USA

    3. Police Officers as Change Agents Hans Toch, University of Alabama, USA

    4. From the Bottom Up: Sharing Leadership in a Police Agency Brigitte Steinheider, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, USA, and Todd Wuestewald, Broken Arrow Police Department

    5. Building the Capacity of Police Change Agents Jennifer Wood, Temple University, USA, , Jenny Fleming, University of Tasmania, Australia, and Monique Marks, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

    6. Research for the Front Lines David Thatcher, University of Michigan, USA

    Part II: Police unions and police reform

    7. The Neglect of Police Unions Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska at Omaha, USA

    8. Strange Union Jan Berry, Police Federation of England and Wales, Greg O’Connor, Police Association of New Zealand, Maurice Punch, London School of Economics, UK, and Paul Wilson, London Metropolitan Police

    9. No Longer a ‘Workingman’s Paradise’? Mark Finnane, Griffith University, Australia

    10. The human right of police to organize and bargain collectively Roy Adams, DeGroote School of Business, Canada

    Part III: Police culture, police organization and the possibilities of change

    11. Why Reforms Fail Wesley Skogan, Northwestern University, USA

    12. Enduring Issues of Police Culture and Demographics Jerome Skolnick, New York University, USA

    13. Police and Social Democracy William Ken Muir, University of California at Berkeley, USA


    Monique Marks is an Associate Professor in the Community Development Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She has published widely about police unions, police labour rights, and police organisational change. She has also conducted participatory action research with police unions in South Africa and in Australia for the past 15 years.

    David Sklansky is the Yosef Osheawich Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, and Faculty Chair of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice. He has written extensively about policing and criminal procedure.