A Study of the Administrative and Law Enforcement Notion of the Administrative and Watchman Style of Policing

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Legalistic policing style
  • Watchman policing style
  • Similarities and differences
  • Functionality
  • Conclusion
  • Works cited


There are many policing styles to be undertaken by most law enforcement agencies and some segments operating under them. The law has to be respected and applied to the letter in order to maintain peace and order among different individuals within various societies. However, if not well applied to; there will be many arising social problems related to law cases. Justice is the fundamental right to everyone regardless of their social class, gender or race. But when it comes to criminal justice, the law must take its own course for justice to prevail (Frank, 2006).

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Basically, the following are two selected policing styles to critically analyze the concept of law enforcement.

Legalistic policing style

This type of policing style enables the police to work and operate strictly under the letter of the law. Everything has to be legal and procedural without necessary gong informal especially in cases of corruption. The legal due process has to be followed in order to know who guilt is and who is not. Here the police carry themselves in a professional manner and ensure that every other citizen is treated equally across the board despite of the situation at hand.

Additionally, department employing such type of policing get easier time particularly in decision making because there is little effort put from the subordinate staff. All procedures are done in writing and the records kept for future references. Further, because most citizens feel that the policing department is to some point ethical, the police will instead apply the law in all life related packages for the purpose of justice (Heaton, 2009). Equally, most of the departments employing this type of policing are rated the best performers in the field of law enforcement.

Watchman policing style

This type of policing is specifically for maintaining peace and order especially in densely populated areas. At this avenue, the police get many calls from the society demanding their services and intervention. This happens so when there are cases which violate the law. For example, traffic violations and robbery among many others. With this type of policing style, the police normally ignore minor issues violating the law. Some of these minors may include issues of over speeding, wrong overtakes among others. These little issues are not really attended to because of their impact on the society. But more attention is given to bigger and burning issues such as robbery and violence and other criminal related problems. With these the police will intervene quickly to save the situation on the ground. All police departments apply this type of policing although it has lesser weight on law enactment related issues (Heaton, 2009).

Similarities and differences

The two types of policing (Legalistic and watchman) styles are very useful in the field of law enactment and they are widely employed on the same note. Equally, the two are similar in one way and they differ in another way based on their nature.


All these three milestones show and precisely explain how far we have come and the strategies put in place to enhance growth and development in all spheres (Lehman, 2005).


In conclusion, the watchman and legalistic policing styles are very essential in all law enactment units and even in their operating agencies. By employing this kind of styles, the law should be respected by all citizens hence, promoting peace and unity among individuals in different societies.

Works cited

  1. Frank, R. (2006). The evolution of policing: Worldwide innovations and insights. Police Quarterly, 9(1), 1-26. doi: 10.1177/1098611105283308
  2. Heaton, P. (2009). Policing: An introduction to concepts and practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
  3. Lehman, J. (2005). Policing: The contemporary challenge. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
  4. National Institute of Justice. (2017). Policing. Retrieved from
  5. Reiss, A. J. (1971). The police and the public. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  6. Roberg, R. R., Kuykendall, J. R., & Novak, K. J. (2012). Police and society (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  7. Skolnick, J. H., & Fyfe, J. J. (1993). Above the law: Police and the excessive use of force. New York, NY: The Free Press.
  8. Sparrow, M. K. (2011). The application of information technology in American policing. Police Quarterly, 14(3), 272-298. doi: 10.1177/1098611111415401
  9. Terrill, W., & Paoline, E. A. (2012). Police in America (7th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  10. Walker, S., & Katz, C. M. (2012). The police in America: An introduction (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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