Dados vol. 25 n. 1 Rio de Janeiro 1982

A Organização Policial numa Área Metropolitana

Paixão, Antonio Luiz


The author seeks to evaluate the adequacy of an organizational approach for the analysis of police organization in a metropolitan area based on direct observation of the operation of police precincts and in-depth interviews with policemen from all niches of the police hierarchy. In the first place, the author discusses the police force's formal structure and the practical uses to which it is put by policemen, emphasizing the precarious nature of supervisory and control official mechanisms, the existence of a "quasi-feudal" authority pattern, and the loose articulation between formal structure and practical activities. Next, the author analyzes the police's organization of practical activities. The police is seen as guided by a backlog of empirical knowledge (the "logic-in-use" of policemen on the beat or that set of notions used to identify potential criminals, modes of criminal actions, informers, methods for gathering court evidence, and the like) which is far removed from formally established legal norms. In conclusion, the author investigates the policeman's self-image as "society's trash collector" and the resulting conflict between the imposition of law and the imposition of order in Brazilian society.

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A Organização Policial numa Área Metropolitana