Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



Police administrators frequently choose work processes that are likely to produce immediate and apparent results. Some choices appearing good at first may, in the long run, produce adverse results. This is particularly true when tools, the benefits of technological innovation, are introduced into the work situation without consideration for the effects they may have on the values and feelings of the persons who will use them. A generation ago police administrators were faced with 3 manpower pinch. Traditional patrol methods using two-man cars were discarded for one-man cars. Administrators found it more economical to buy more cars and equipment than to raise salaries so that more policemen could be hired. The resulting patrol styles required that police officers work alone, not the most desirable situation considering the importance of social interaction among persons in the work environment. The theories of behavioral scientists and the supporting research which has been made over the past several generations have identified some basic elements of human motivation. One is that people have a basic desire to belong to groups of two or more persons. The patrolman who is assigned to work alone in his car is denied opportunities to join groups or otherwise interact with fellow employees. Studies of this type of work situation in industrial settings indicate that employees frequently seek the opportunity to withdraw from it either by terminating employment, by absences or by being involved in mishaps which permit a sanctioned absence. In this study two groups of police departments were examined; one which used one-man patrol, the other, which used two-man patrol methods. Because of the style, one-man patrol methods do not permit officers much opportunity for social interaction. Two-man patrol permits an almost continuous opportunity for such interaction. To test the hypothesis advanced, police departments were surveyed to ascertain the incidence of personnel turnover, absenteeism, accidents, injuries and disciplinary actions. The hypothesis would be proven if the findings showed that departments using one-man patrol had a higher incidence of these conditions than two-man patrol departments. The results of the survey confirmed the hypothesis. In all categories examined, departments using one-man patrol had a higher incidence of the anticipated behavior than did departments using two-man patrol. The study concluded with the finding that police administrators could reduce certain operating costs by redesigning work processes in such a way that the officers would have adequate opportunity to satisfy their needs for participation while in the job situation.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Mace Hunger

Second Committee Member

Daniel U. Henning

Third Committee Member

David R. Jones



Document Type