INCREASING EFFICIENCIES IN LAW ENFORCEMENT THROUGH CIVILIANIZATION
Law enforcement executives are constantly looking for new ways to improve efficiencies within their organizations. One widely-used method is the relatively old practice of civilianization, which has been increasingly used since World War II (Breza, 1985). A vast array of literature has been published about the pros and cons of utilizing civilian employees to perform duties that are traditionally carried out by sworn police officers. The pros include cost savings created by paying lower salaries to civilian employees, increased availability of sworn police officers to perform more critical duties and the more personalized, less threatening appearance of civilian employees.…show more content… These roles include crime analysts, forensics, information technology, media relations, human resources, planning and research, and communications. Civilianizing these positions reduces operating costs because civilian employees are paid less, given fewer benefits and require less training (Davis,
Lombardo, Woods, Koper, Hawkins, 2013). Ordinarily, salaries for sworn officers are significantly higher than those of civilian employees (Breza, 1985). According to a 2002 study from the City of Berkley, California, the annual salary of a community service officer is approximately half of the salary of a sworn police officer. The 1975 National Commission on
Productivity found the high training costs and salary demands of modern officers are too prohibitive to permit them to fill roles that can be fulfilled by low-cost civilian employees
(Breza, 1985). Civilian employees can also be hired and trained more quickly than sworn officers, which furthers their cost efficiency to law enforcement agencies (Davis et al.,…show more content… In another recent study, 63% of agencies reported their sworn officers were available to handle field operations related duties as a direct result of hiring civilian crime analysts and technicians (Davis et al., 2013).
Improved Relationships with the Community Another key benefit of civilianization is the opportunity for civilian employees to relate more closely with the citizens they serve, thus reducing the often perceived barrier that exists between sworn officers and the community members they serve. Because civilian employees are more likely to live in the community they work in, their understanding of the local politics and culture improves their ability to assist the citizens they serve. Police legitimacy is also increased by these employees because they tend to share the social class and ethnic attributes of the citizens they serve (Davis et al., 2013).
Limited Opportunities for Advancement One negative aspect of civilianization is the limited opportunities for advancement available to civilian employees in comparison to those afforded to sworn officers. Unlike