The Car and Driver as the Basic Police Technology

Peter K. Manning

in Policing Contingencies

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780226503516
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226503523 | DOI:
The Car and Driver as the Basic Police Technology

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Police technologies historically have developed to increase the probability that the police will be present when the untoward arises. This reification and ideological commitment to the “road officer” means that enormous time, effort, and expenditure have been devoted to the car and driver, and amazingly little on what is done in the car and why. This chapter shifts focus and level of abstraction to put the reader in the car with the driver. Since the driver and the vehicle bound the immediate world of policing, the vehicle produces a narrowing and blinding worldview that obviates many alternative realities, many of which impinge upon policing as an organization. While the fundamental technology is interpersonal skills and talk, it is in the car that the policing experience is shaped for officers, and there all officers begin their careers.

Keywords: police; policing; car; driver; road officers; interpersonal skills; abstraction; alternative realities

Chapter.  6512 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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