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      To Protect and Serve Themselves

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      Public Culture

      Duke University Press

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          Abstract

          The police in the United States were once subject to control by political machines. The professionalization process freed police from this control, but it had an unexpected result. Professionalization meant that police answered primarily to themselves, which enabled them to become self-interested. This process transformed the police into a new type of authoritative political actor. This article examines the history and organizational sociology of the transformation of the police since the 1960s, investigating how, through groups like the International Association of Chiefs of Police, police have advocated on their own behalf and interacted with larger political and economic trends. Separate from their role in crime control, police have become entrepreneurial and resistant to fiscal austerity. This article offers a new characterization of the effects of the “war on crime” and “law and order” politics of the 1960s, while paying attention to the surprising Cold War roots of the political autonomy of police.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Austerity urbanism

           Jamie Peck (2012)
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            'Rescaling the state' in question

             K Cox (2009)
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              Protect, Serve, and Deport: The Rise of Policing as Immigration Enforcement

               Amada Armenta (2017)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Public Culture
                Duke University Press
                0899-2363
                1527-8018
                September 1 2019
                September 1 2019
                : 31
                : 3
                : 601-623
                Article
                10.1215/08992363-7532667
                © 2019

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