Introduction: Understanding police innovation

David Weisburd, Anthony A. Braga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Introduction Over the last three decades American policing has gone through a period of significant change and innovation. In what is a relatively short historical time frame the police began to reconsider their fundamental mission, the nature of the core strategies of policing, and the character of their relationships with the communities that they serve. Innovations in policing in this period were not insular and restricted to police professionals and scholars, but were often seen on the front pages of America's newspapers and magazines, and spoken about in the electronic media. Some approaches, like broken windows policing – termed by some as zero tolerance policing – became the subject of heated political debate. Community policing, one of the most important police programs that emerged in this period, was even to give its name to a large federal agency – The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services – created by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Some have described this period of change as the most dramatic in the history of policing (e.g., see Bayley 1994). This claim does not perhaps do justice to the radical reforms that led to the creation of modern police forces in the nineteenth century, or even the wide-scale innovations in tactics or approaches to policing that emerged after the Second World War. However, observers of the police today are inevitably struck by the pace and variety of innovation in the last few decades.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPolice Innovation
Subtitle of host publicationContrasting Perspectives
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780511489334
ISBN (Print)052183628x, 9780521836289
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2006 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.


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