Newswise — MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University Associate Professor of Political Science Casey LaFrance has released a timely book examining decision making by police officers.
"Targeting Discretion: A Guide for Command Staff, Frontline Officers and Students" is a guide for police managers, practitioners, the media and scholars.
The book provides a theoretical framework for understanding variations of organizational communication between police rank-levels.
"Foremost, my book echoes decades of public administration research, which suggests that traditional concepts of accountability are far too limited to be fairly applied to public management," said LaFrance. "My book is optimistic in tone. It reveals that change and learning are not only possible, but achievable through a set of simple (in terms of understanding), though not easy (in terms of execution) steps. Being accountable in the 21st century rally means being willing to experiment and open up lines of communication within and outside of an agency."
The training model created by LaFrance has provided a "launchpad for self-awareness about everyday decisions."
LaFrance said the research that led to this book taught him that police officers put a great deal of effort into using discretion and making effective choices. His research was sparked by the study of how sheriffs and police chiefs made decisions aimed at balancing accountability considerations.
"It dawned on me that there was an opportunity for fostering better communication between rank levels," said LaFrance. "Moreover, there was a willingness, or even a desire, with agencies to do this - they just needed a vehicle for this purpose."
The book will appeal to more than just those who study police work. LaFrance said it looks at the broader concept of decision-making, and anyone can take the model he outlines in his book and apply it to their jobs.
LaFrance has been at Western since 2009 and teaches courses in public administration and organizational theory. He also has research interests in county government, public sector accountability, bureaucracy and the public policy process.
For more information on the book, visit blog.ung.edu/press/?p=4270.