Journal Article

Practitioner–Researcher Collaboration in Policing: A Case of Close Encounters?

Todd Wuestewald and Brigitte Steinheider

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 4, issue 2, pages 104-111
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online October 2009 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI:
Practitioner–Researcher Collaboration in Policing: A Case of Close Encounters?

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Todd Wuestewald is Chief of Police at the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Police Department. He is a 28-year law enforcement veteran, a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police, holds Master degrees in criminal justice and public administration, and is presently completing doctoral studies in workforce education. Dr. Brigitte Steinheider is Associate Professor and Director of the Organizational Dynamics graduate program at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. She holds an M.S. in psychology, as well as an M.B.A, and received her Ph.D. from the Technical Institute in Dresden, Germany. Together, Chief Wuestewald and Professor Steinheider have conducted research and consulting for a number of law enforcement agencies in the USA and have published several articles on organizational democracy in policing. In this article, the authors argue that collaborations between police practitioners and academic researchers are challenging due to differences in perspective, method and culture. Consequently, such collaborations are infrequent and tenuous, thereby inhibiting knowledge sharing between the two fields. The authors’ experience is that while these relationships can prove innovative and rewarding, they can also occur in unplanned ways and may have unexpected outcomes. The methodology of action research, which equally values the perspectives of practitioners and researchers as they jointly analyze and address problems, can be a useful tool for managing the inherent challenges of collaborative inquiry. This paper describes a case study that used this approach for a police organizational development project and serves as an illustration of its implementation and outcomes.

Journal Article.  3962 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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