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Police and the Liberal State$
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Markus D. Dubber and Mariana Valverde

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759328

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759328.001.0001

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Work and Authority in Policing

Work and Authority in Policing

Chapter:
(p.110) Six Work and Authority in Policing
Source:
Police and the Liberal State
Author(s):

David Alan Sklansky

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804759328.003.0007

This chapter explores a different, less obvious, connection between police power and the police. The main thesis is that the police mode of governance has frustrated efforts at American police reform over the past half century, including the criminal procedure revolution, not just by opposing those efforts from the outside but also by compromising them from within. It starts by outlining the straightforward case for giving police officers a larger collective voice in the shaping of their work—a case that borrows heavily from arguments commonly made about other workplaces. It then explores why those arguments are seldom heard in discussions of policing. Part of the explanation turns out to be an accident of history, but another part of the answer is more principled, having to do with a particular understanding of what the rule of law requires of the police. That understanding has paradoxical affinities with what might be called the police theory of state authority—not the working theory of police officers but the theory underlying police power and one which is traceable to the nineteenth-century, Continental understanding of the police.

Keywords:   police power, governance, American police reform, rule of law, state authority

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