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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Towards a national gang strategy: A meta-policy analysis of leadership, learning, and organizational change within the law enforcement context
by Richards, Maurice V., Ed.D., Northern Illinois University, 2010, 418; 3439667
Abstract (Summary)

This study examines the process of change within law enforcement, focusing on the leadership, learning, and organizational change required to reduce crime, violence, and social disruption caused by criminal street gangs. The study tests the viability, results, and implications of a new policing model, the trans-jurisdictional task force, through in-depth analysis of the Illiana Regional Gang Task Force—implemented in the City of Chicago, the south Chicago suburbs, and northwest Indiana from 2007 to 2009.

A qualitative research design used data collection methods enabling the researcher to understand events from the perspective of the participants themselves. Information was gathered through: direct participation in the research setting, participant observation, in-depth interviewing, and analysis of documents and cultural artifacts. Informal interviews were conducted with experts in gangs, narcotics investigations, and task force operations. Interviewees had extensive backgrounds in local, county, state, or federal law enforcement. Additional data was gathered from focus groups that included other experts. The profound levels of expertise of all participants qualified them as “elite” subjects. The methods of data, theory, and methodological triangulation were employed to ensure accurate data interpretation.

The following significant themes emerged from the data. Severity of the gang problem has intensified, with increased gang mobility, sophistication, and migration from major urban centers. Trans-jurisdictional task forces provide intelligence networking, multiply police resources, and negate gangs? advantages in crossing jurisdictional boundaries. Trans-jurisdictional task forces build professionalism, strengthen training, and enhance learning and must be democratic, participative, and non-territorial in design. Gang suppression by law enforcement is only one part of the solution and transformational, visionary leadership is needed for organizational change. A new paradigm of cooperation, partnership, and organizational flexibility must be created both within and between law enforcement, schools, and communities.

Based upon the data and literature review it is recommended that law enforcement policy makers adopt a set of ten proposed meta-policies as the basis for a national gang strategy creating partnerships with police, communities, schools, and families. These meta-policies support the themes of leadership, learning, and organizational change, providing a holistic approach and long-term solution to the problem of gangs and gang crime.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ilsley, Paul J.
Commitee: Ilsley, Paul J., Mblizi, Margaret A., Shannon, Edward W.
School: Northern Illinois University
Department: Counseling, Adult and Higher Education
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Adult education, Criminology
Keywords: Gang policy, Organizational change, Police, Police leadership, Task forces
Publication Number: 3439667
ISBN: 978-1-124-44980-7
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