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IN QUEST OF A POLICE PROFESSION: A BIOGRAPHY OF ORLANDO W. WILSON

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Date Issued:
1975
Summary:
Orlando W. Wilson was the most influential figure in the history of American law enforcement. His career as a police chief, criminology professor, consultant and author began in 1921, and spanned forty-six years. His accomplishments during this period have not been surpassed: He is the Father of the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics; he began America's first police-college cadet program; he pioneered state sponsored training courses and minimum standards for police personnel; he initiated psychological testing for police officers; he founded the country's first professional school of criminology; and he authored the most widely circulated police administration textbook in history. In addition, Wilson's former students and subordinates formed the vanguard of the American police professionalization movement, and his management surveys of some forty major police departments furnished a model for reorganization which has become dogma in law enforcement. Wilson's police career began as a patrolman in Berkeley, California. He briefly served Fullerton, California as its chief of police, then in 1928 began an eleven year tenure as chief in Wichita, Kansas. During that term of service, Wilson's reputation grew, as Wichita gained fame as the "West Point of Law Enforcement." Forced out of Wichita by corrupt politicians, Wilson accepted a professorship at the University of California in 1939. With the exception of wartime service as Director of de-Nazification activities in Germany, he spent twenty-one years at the University, the last decade as Dean of the School of Criminology. In 1960, he received an urgent call from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whose administration was in jeopardy because of a major police scandal. Wilson was appointed to chair a search committee empaneled to select a reform police commissioner. When the committee could not find a competent applicant, it turned to its chairman, and persuaded Wilson to take the job. During his seven years in office, he completely reorganized the police department, aggressively fought corruption, and inspired public confidence in his efforts. He retired in 1967. O.W. Wilson was scrupulously honest, and dedicated to creating an American police profession. His battles against corruption and his disdain for politicians are legendary . Throughout his career, he directed his considerable energy toward uplifting the status of law enforcement. He was a man of high principles, unswervingly committed to excellence. Nonetheless, he also had serious limitations. He applied disciplinary action ruthlessly , without regard to human considerations. His penchant for orderliness led him to adopt a rigid military method of organizing police departments, despite the negative effect it had on police-community relationships. Moreover, Wilson often became so preoccupied with structural reorganization that more substantive police reform was overlooked. Notwithstanding personal limitations, Orlando H. Wilson was the greatest police administrator American law enforcement has yet produced. His impact on the movement to professionalize the police is incalculable, and even his earliest contributions to the field have stood the test of time.
Title: IN QUEST OF A POLICE PROFESSION: A BIOGRAPHY OF ORLANDO W. WILSON.
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Name(s): BOPP, WILLIAM J., author
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
O'Sullivan, John, Thesis advisor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 1975
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, FL
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 282 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Orlando W. Wilson was the most influential figure in the history of American law enforcement. His career as a police chief, criminology professor, consultant and author began in 1921, and spanned forty-six years. His accomplishments during this period have not been surpassed: He is the Father of the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics; he began America's first police-college cadet program; he pioneered state sponsored training courses and minimum standards for police personnel; he initiated psychological testing for police officers; he founded the country's first professional school of criminology; and he authored the most widely circulated police administration textbook in history. In addition, Wilson's former students and subordinates formed the vanguard of the American police professionalization movement, and his management surveys of some forty major police departments furnished a model for reorganization which has become dogma in law enforcement. Wilson's police career began as a patrolman in Berkeley, California. He briefly served Fullerton, California as its chief of police, then in 1928 began an eleven year tenure as chief in Wichita, Kansas. During that term of service, Wilson's reputation grew, as Wichita gained fame as the "West Point of Law Enforcement." Forced out of Wichita by corrupt politicians, Wilson accepted a professorship at the University of California in 1939. With the exception of wartime service as Director of de-Nazification activities in Germany, he spent twenty-one years at the University, the last decade as Dean of the School of Criminology. In 1960, he received an urgent call from Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, whose administration was in jeopardy because of a major police scandal. Wilson was appointed to chair a search committee empaneled to select a reform police commissioner. When the committee could not find a competent applicant, it turned to its chairman, and persuaded Wilson to take the job. During his seven years in office, he completely reorganized the police department, aggressively fought corruption, and inspired public confidence in his efforts. He retired in 1967. O.W. Wilson was scrupulously honest, and dedicated to creating an American police profession. His battles against corruption and his disdain for politicians are legendary . Throughout his career, he directed his considerable energy toward uplifting the status of law enforcement. He was a man of high principles, unswervingly committed to excellence. Nonetheless, he also had serious limitations. He applied disciplinary action ruthlessly , without regard to human considerations. His penchant for orderliness led him to adopt a rigid military method of organizing police departments, despite the negative effect it had on police-community relationships. Moreover, Wilson often became so preoccupied with structural reorganization that more substantive police reform was overlooked. Notwithstanding personal limitations, Orlando H. Wilson was the greatest police administrator American law enforcement has yet produced. His impact on the movement to professionalize the police is incalculable, and even his earliest contributions to the field have stood the test of time.
Identifier: 11649 (digitool), FADT11649 (IID), fau:8586 (fedora)
Degree granted: Thesis (Educat.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 1975.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 36-02, Section: A, page: 1104.
College of Education
Subject(s): Wilson, O W --(Orlando Winfield),--1900-1972
Police--United States--Biography
Police administration--United States--History
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/11649
Sublocation: Digital Library
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.