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date: 20 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Over the last thirty years local police organizations in the United States have been the focus of numerous reform efforts. This essay suggests that some of the most important innovations to have emerged during this period can be regarded as continued adaptations to the problems of public safety and police legitimacy from the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time, police organizations have had to confront a new crisis in the policing environment—terrorism. Thus this essay identifies and describes innovative attempts to reduce and prevent crime, strengthen police accountability and enhance legitimacy, and to adapt to the new challenge of terrorism. These are situated within a larger social, economic, and political context, and a brief assessment of the nature and degree of change is also provided. Finally, some trends in police scholarship are considered as well as opportunities for future research.

Keywords: police history, police organization, police reform, police innovation, police accountability, legitimacy, policing terrorism

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