Applying Client-Oriented Service to the Administration of
Criminal Justice Agencies
This chapter will explore the theme that is guiding administrators now and into the foreseeable future. The fifth theme,
Client-Oriented service, started in the latter part of the 20th century and has continued into this century. The
application of this theme to contemporary and future criminal justice agencies is where we begin in this chapter. To
set the stage, historical key milestone concepts will provide a starting point for the discussion of the application of
1987, Moments of Truth, Jan Carlzon
1983, In Search of Excellence, Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman
In the 1960s, attention was on the Open Systems concept, and in the 1970s, the focus was on Social Equity. In
the 1980s, the focus of administrators moved to the people being served—or to the “clients,” as they were called in
the private sector. Peters and Waterman’s best-selling publication, In Search of Excellence, spotlighted how successful
private businesses were customizing services to the desires of their clients.
Several years after the publication of this book, Peters produced a training video, Excellence in the Public Sector.
In the training video, Peters visited five public sector agencies to demonstrate how the excellence qualities found in
the private sector could be transferred to the public sector. One of the five agencies he visited was the New York City
Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). DJJ provided pretrial detention for 5,000 children each year and aftercare
services for 1,000 children. Many of these juveniles were arrested and detained while waiting for a court appearance.
The organization challenge was to provide a system of services for detained juveniles whose stays varied from a
few days to many months, and also to maintain supportive aftercare services. For years, the agency had major
organizational problems, a poor reputation, and low success in the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders. Peters showed
how getting criminal justice employees to work with juvenile detainees and parolees as “clients” or “customers”
proved beneficial. Viewing the detainees as customers with certain needs for specific services changed the juvenile
justice agency into a successful enterprise with a good reputation for reducing juvenile offender recidivism (Peters
Jan Carlzon wrote about his experience in taking over a failing airline corporation and making it successful by
concentrating on the service of employees when they came in direct contact with the customers. He called these
contacts “the moments of truth.” He found these moments much more important in establishing the reputation of the
corporation than high-profile advertising and public relations campaigns. This approach, developed in the private
sector, became a major factor in the public sector administration.
Client-Oriented Law Enforcement Service
A prime concern in the public sector during that period was Social Equity. This concern was a result of the growing
citizen distrust of the government, in general, and the police (as the most visible representatives of the government),
in particular. The importance of crime prevention can be discussed as an Open Systems concept. The importance of
prevention was based on research that revealed that the police seldom discover a crime in progress. When they do
apprehend offenders, it is usually as the result of information provided by the public. In preventing crime and in
apprehending criminals, public cooperation is of prime importance. If the public does not trust the police, gaining their
cooperation will be difficult.
During the 1960s and 1970s, a growing number of citizens viewed the police as too professional; they seemed to
be more an occupying army than a protective force. The only contact that many citizens had with the police was when
radio car officers responded to calls-for-services. These contacts were often emotionally charged and cast officers in
the role of enforcers. Public dissatisfaction with police services could be seen in ballot measures that reduced tax
support for law enforcement. Crime increased and police services were stretched to the limit. Police service became
(in most cases) reactive rather than proactive. Public trust of the police continued to diminish.
In demonstrating the need for public trust in police work, the author, as a professor, asks students to envision
someone they do not trust who has authority over them. The students are asked if they would do what that person
ordered them to do. The students respond in the affirmative because of the power that this authority figure has over
them. Then the students are asked if they would volunteer information to this authority figure they do not trust, for
example, information that would help the authority figure be successful. The students respond, “No way.” They are
not inclined to help this authority figure be successful; in fact, they hope that he or she fails. The students are then
asked to think of the police in this light. If the police are viewed as only authority figures not to be trusted, the public
will not come forward with the information needed to apprehend criminals and will not cooperate in prevention efforts.
There was a realization that law enforcement, in the effort to become professional, had strayed from the early U.S.
philosophy of a shared community–police responsibility. This became a major topic of discussion in the 1970s and
1980s. As a result, the attention of police administrators shifted to key milestone publications and other business world
research that was aimed at gaining client support and trust. For example, the author, as a police administrator, modified
Jan Carlzon’s “moments of truth” definition to fit law enforcement as described in the next section.
“Moments of Truth” in Policing
Anytime that the public comes into contact with the police and judges (forms an opinion about) the quality of
service that they are receiving, that is where the real values and missions of policing come through. That is the
“moment of truth” that creates trust and support.
It is the patrol officers who respond to calls-for-service, the traffic officers who write citations, and the 9-1-1
telephone operators who are the first contact that most people have with the criminal justice system. Proper selection,
training, and motivating of these personnel are of prime importance for police administrators in promoting ClientOriented service.
Peters and Waterman’s emphasis on decentralizing service (to be “closer to the customer”) was another factor in
what became know as community policing. The police movement toward a Client-Oriented concept started in the
1970s (and even earlier in some agencies) and moved through a number of approaches in the 1980s and 1990s. The
evolution of concepts through this period demonstrates how the fabric of each contextual theme is designed from
many attempts, modifications, and enhancements.
Table 11.1 displays the evolution of policing modes over several centuries. The evolution of policing is shown
here in relationship to the evolution of administrative themes and concepts. The enlightenment of the Open Systems
period and the pressures of the Social Equity period caused police administrators to seek better methods of promoting
public trust. The development of Client-Oriented service went through a number of stages.
Evolutionary Stages of Client-Oriented Service in Law Enforcement
Community relations and press relations programs were a product of the 1970s (and, in some agencies, the 1960s) and
the first step in the evolution of Client-Oriented service. Police administrators implemented community relations
programs aimed at enhancing their public image. Another way of defining these programs was to “get the public to
like the police.” Community relations and press relations officer positions were created to facilitate this approach.
Because police work is of much interest to the press (and to the public, as indicated by the many television and movie
productions relating to “police work”), the media has a key position in shaping public opinion. There is a natural
conflict between the press and the police. The press wants all the information, and the police have to restrict the release
of some information that may jeopardize the investigations or prosecutions. Consequently, most agencies of any size
selected and trained certain personnel to function as liaisons with the press.
Community relations officers were specially trained to present their agencies in the best possible light. Some
larger agencies hired public relation firms to assist in developing community relations programs. Departments used
public displays, demonstrations, lectures, and television and radio messages to inform citizens about police operations,
crimes, and crime prevention. Community relations officers were available for speeches at community meetings and
A problem with this approach was that it often neglected Carlzon’s “moments of truth” concept. It is not highprofile community relations programs that formed public opinion but, rather, the direct interaction of employees with
the public being served.
Team policing was the next step in the Client-Oriented service approach. This approach, which Chief Edward
M. Davis started in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, took Peters and Waterman’s decentralized “close to the customer”
concept and applied it to policing. Davis also incorporated the “territorial imperative” idea from a best-selling book
of the day by Robert Ardrey (1966). Ardrey’s idea was that all living organisms, from ants to humans, have a special
territory that they protect and proclaim as “their turf.”
Davis used these concepts in deploying employees into basic-car districts, in which officers were responsible for
specific districts. The people in those districts became “their” people. Davis put it this way: “If the policeman is white
and the people he serves are black, he may think at first, ‘I don’t like black people very much,’ and the black people
may think at first, ‘We don’t like white cops very much.’ Yet he’s their protector, and he knows that they are depending
on him; and if they sit down and rap together about how to protect the area, pretty soon the whiteness and the blackness
disappear, and it become Us, a feeling of unity” (Davis 1978, 136).
These basic-car districts were groups of census tracts that were combined to conform to what community
members felt were their neighborhoods. The districts were formed into teams, which led to the development of team
policing. The Los Angeles Police Department was divided into 80 teams. Each team was headed by a lieutenant who
had the authority and responsibility for patrol, traffic, and detective services in that team area. He or she was the “chief
of police” for that territory under the concept of decentralization and bringing the service “close to the customer.”
Decisions that previously had to be made at central command were now delegated to the local team commander.
Basic-car district officers established neighborhood watch programs, and Chief Davis can be credited with this
concept. Davis had basic-car district officers develop “block captains” who provided their homes for neighborhood
watch meetings, combining both the concepts of “territorial imperative” and getting “close to the customer.” This
approach involved gathering neighbors to meet periodically with their basic-car district officers and share quality-oflife-related concerns. These meetings served to exchange information that could reduce and prevent crime, help the
police customize their services to neighborhood needs, and promote a cooperative interaction between the police and
the public. Team policing came to an abrupt end because of political and financial reasons after less than a decade of
operation. However, it served as a foundation for community policing and started the neighborhood watch program
that has continued into the 21st century. Community-Oriented Policing (COP) was the next evolutionary approach,
and Lee Brown, then the chief of police of the Houston Police Department in Texas, can rightfully be called the father
of this concept. As implemented in Houston, organizationally it was focused on the decentralizing of patrol functions.
The neighborhood watch concept from Davis’s team policing was incorporated as a major component. Even though
Brown’s COP revolved mainly around the patrol functions, he made it a philosophy throughout the department.
The philosophy was not a new concept. In fact, it was a return to Sir Robert Peel’s 1830s principles for the
London Metropolitan Police. The Peel Principles of Policing (explained as follows) can rightfully be called the “holy
grail” of modern law enforcement.
Sir Robert Peel’s Policing Principles
1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and by severity of legal
2. To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public
approval of their existence, actions, and behavior and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
3. To recognize always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing
of willing cooperation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
4. To recognize always that the extent to which the cooperation of the public can be secured diminishes,
proportionately, the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
5. To seek and to preserve public favor, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating
absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or
injustice of the substance of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members
of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing; by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good
humor; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient to
obtain public cooperation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order; and to use only
the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police
7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are
the public and that the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give
full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen, in the interests of community welfare and
8. To recognize always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming
to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the state, and of authoritatively judging guilt and
punishing the guilty.
9. To recognize always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible
evidence of police action in dealing with them. (Reith 1948, 64–65)
Many contemporary police departments have adopted portions of these principles into their mission and value
statements. The Management Principles of the Los Angeles Police Department (which the author was involved in
drafting) offers an example of how law enforcement has incorporated these principles into Client-Oriented Policing.
The focus shifted from the number of arrests to preventing crime and disorder. The measure of effectiveness became
“the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action (items 1 and 9 of Peel’s Principles).
The heart of Peel’s Principles (item 7) states that the “police are the public and that the public are the police; the police
being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every
citizen, in the interests of community welfare and existence.” This philosophy became the theme of CommunityOriented Policing.
Chief Lee Brown added the “fear of crime” to Client-Oriented Policing. Brown pointed out that there is often
more fear of crime than actually justified by the amount of crime. Furthermore, it is often the fear of crime that causes
communities’ quality of life to deteriorate. This fear often causes people to move to other neighborhoods. A later
section in this chapter discusses a survey of a large inner-city area under the topic of evaluating Client-Oriented
effectiveness. It is mentioned here because it demonstrates how the fear level can be greater than justified by the crime.
In the survey, residents were asked which crimes they feared most. Although they mentioned robberies and gang
violence as crimes they feared most, many residents did not list these as crimes they or their families had recently
experienced. It was found that their fears were based on what they heard from others and what they became aware of
through the news media and via visual indicators such as graffiti. Lee Brown made reducing fear of crime a part of
the Community-Oriented Policing effort. This effort included providing facts and rumor control through neighborhood
watch meetings and media releases.
Brown called his program Neighborhood-Oriented Policing (NOP). His philosophy was to change the police
officer from an enforcer to an officer who would provide Client-Oriented service. He described his philosophy
as follows: The more desired perception is for the officer to be viewed as someone who can provide help and
assistance, someone who expresses compassion through emphasizing and sympathizing with victims of crime,
and someone who can organize community groups, inspire and motivate groups, and facilitate and coordinate
collective efforts and endeavors of others. (Ottmeier and Brown 1988, 13)
In addition to Peel’s Principles, community policing incorporated a number of other approaches. One approach
came from the milestone 1973 Kansas City study that measured proactive, reactive, and controlled patrol beats. This
study found that when randomly applied, none of these tactics significantly affect criminal activity. From this, directed
patrol developed, which focused officers on specific crime problems during the time they were not responding to callsfor-service. With community policing, these specific crime problems were to be related to the neighborhoods being
patrolled (Kelling, Dieckman, and Brown 1974).
The broken windows theory (Wilson and Kelling 1982) was another concept that became part of CommunityOriented Policing. In 1982, the concept was published as an analogy to describe the relationship between disorder and
crime. A broken window left unrepaired shows others that no one cares about the property, causing a chain reaction
of events that deteriorate neighborhood quality of life.
W. Skogan later contributed to this theory, describing what he referred to as the “contagion proposition.” He
wrote that certain disorders generate more disorder unless quickly controlled. Current levels of disorder can produce
future crime problems, fear of crime, victimization, and residential dissatisfaction (Skogan 1996).
Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) is a concept attributed to Herman Goldstein (1979). The concept
incorporates the idea that law enforcement attempts to reduce crime problems should take on a more scientific
approach. These attempts should involve proactive policing strategies that focus on the identi …
Purchase answer to see full