Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Police discretion, Police -- Effect of technological innovations on


This research seeks to evaluate the influence of advanced information processing technologies on police discretion. I have developed three propositions. First, advanced information processing technologies used in municipal law enforcement enable policing managers to easily collect and analyze large amounts of information. Second, the information acquired from these same technologies is used to create and/or modify bureaucratic rules regarding police work. Third, this combination of technological and bureaucratic processes has led to a reduction of patrol officers' discretion. Advanced information processing technologies include crime mapping, video surveillance, mobile data terminals (in-car computers), global positioning systems, and computer statistics (Compstat), a data-collection system. Data for this study was collected through qualitative ethnographic methods. I interviewed a total of twelve patrol officers and police administrators employed in a medium-sized municipal police department. The interviews were semi-structured, and an interview guide was used during each interview. A narrative analysis was administered to exan1ine the data. By using this approach, I examined themes across the narrative accounts of the research participants. Cross-coding was used to see how each officer responded to each topic. I hypothesize that advanced information processing technologies have added new limits on the decision-making discretion of patrol officers.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Joe Gorton, Chair


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit an email request to scholarworks@uni.edu. Include your name and clearly identify the thesis by full title and author as shown on the work.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 56 leaves ; 28 cm)



File Format


Included in

Criminology Commons