In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Police Administration

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Foundational Studies
  • Memoirs, Reflections, and Biographies
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Professional Associations
  • Accountability
  • Direction and Control
  • Information and Analysis
  • Leadership
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Organizational Change
  • Organizational Structure
  • Organization Theory
  • Performance Management
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Policy Issues
  • Strategies
  • Training
  • Unions

Criminology Police Administration
Gary Cordner, Joseph Schafer
  • LAST REVIEWED: 31 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 August 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0108


Police administration refers to the organization and management of policing. The conceptual breadth of the term “police administration” is elastic. It can refer to how the policing function is organized at the national or societal level or more specifically to how individual police agencies and units are organized and managed. This bibliography leans in the latter, narrower direction, focusing primarily on the work that police administrators and managers do and on the behavior and activity that goes on within police organizations. The context in which the term “police administration” is used also creates an important distinction. The term refers both to the study of police organizations and to the practice of organizing and managing police. This is reflected in the literature on police administration and in this bibliography. Some works have a predominantly analytical and scientific orientation, while others are more policy and practice oriented. Of course the line between these two orientations is sometimes quite blurred. General Overviews, Foundational Studies, Memoirs, Reflections, and Biographies, Textbooks, Journals, and Professional Associations are general in nature, providing overviews, classics, memoirs, and useful sources of information. The remaining sections, arranged alphabetically, address specific components of police administration, from accountability to unions.

General Overviews

Police administration is quite a broad topic. Hoover 2005 explains how the concept evolved within higher education in the 20th and the early 21st centuries. Reiss 1992 is a sweeping overview of the structure of policing in the United States, which has the most fragmented system in the world, whereas Bayley 1992 takes a comparative look at the organization of policing in several countries. Turning to the narrower focus on police administration as organizing and managing police agencies, Hoover 1992 provides chapters on a variety of key issues facing police management, such as matching structure to objectives and achieving stability amid change. Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies 2017, the standards manual, is an important reference document that summarizes professional judgment about several hundred specific administrative and policy matters pertinent to police organizations.

  • Bayley, David H. 1992. Comparative organization of the police in English-speaking countries. In Modern policing. Edited by Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, 509–545. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Compares the organization of policing in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, India, and the United States. The author is widely recognized as the foremost authority on comparative policing.

  • Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. 2017. Standards for law enforcement agencies. 6th ed. Gainesville, VA: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

    Identifies more than four hundred specific standards used to accredit police agencies. Most of the standards are internally focused and administrative in nature, but some pertain to operational matters and quality of service.

  • Hoover, Larry T. 2005. From police administration to police science: The development of a police academic establishment in the United States. Police Quarterly 8.1: 8–22.

    DOI: 10.1177/1098611104267324

    Outlines the evolution of police higher education in the United States, starting as police science and police administration before criminology and then criminal justice became the normative constructs for academic programs and degrees. Also discusses the potential for a more academically viable discipline of police science.

  • Hoover, Larry T., ed. 1992. Police management issues and perspectives. Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum.

    An anthology focused on intractable and endemic issues facing police organizations and police managers, with chapters such as “Creativity with Accountability” and “enriching traditional roles.” Prepared in conjunction with a series of seminars offered by the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.

  • Reiss, Albert J. Jr. 1992. Police organization in the twentieth century. In Modern policing. Edited by Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, 51–97. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

    Describes the organization of US policing, including how it evolved throughout the 20th century. Written by one of the pioneers of police research.

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