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Policing Contingencies$
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Peter K. Manning

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226503516

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226503523.001.0001

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The Car and Driver as the Basic Police Technology

The Car and Driver as the Basic Police Technology

(p.109) Five The Car and Driver as the Basic Police Technology
Policing Contingencies

Peter K. Manning

University of Chicago Press

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

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