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Abstract

This is a subject area that is not easily or directly approached, for the state of the knowledge rests primarily upon educated guesses, intuitive hunches and intellectual speculation. Little hard empirical data is available. We are still trying to determine how many police departments we have, let alone understand them. The most extensive surve of the criminal justice system ever attempted in this country concluded in 1967 that we had more than 40,000 departments (President's Commission, 1967). Using more sophisticated sampling techniques, L.E.A.A. reported in 1970 that the number was closer to 14,900; by 1975, however, varying its sampled population led to the conclusion that the number more nearly approximates 18,500. (Criminal Justice Agencies, 1975). Understanding some of the difficulty in trying to grasp for facts about the police can be better appreciated when you consider that inspite of a considerable expenditure of dollars and the utilization of sophisticated research methods and computer technology, we can only at best approximate the number of civilian governmental agencies given the authority and power to take human life.

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