Impact of Police Unions on Community

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and working life of both union and non-union members. In particular, police unions are a prevalent feature in any nation and its importance varies from region to region. Consistently, we examine four areas to understand fully and appreciate the impact of police unions within the community. The areas include an impact on management, impact on police subculture, impact on city or county finances, and impact on police-community relations.  

Impact on Management

Police unions have a significant role in the management of law enforcement agencies. According to Marks and Sklansky (2014), unions represent both the private and public sphere of the community and give a voice to the employees in various important issues such as personnel standards and assignment of officers. In essence, the police unions have changed the way the police department is managed and reformed it to a better state.

Impact on Police Subculture

Another important area that police unions have impacted is the police subculture. The unions have helped understand and recognize the importance of the police culture and the fact that the cultures vary greatly. For instance, the police code of silence has been a major obstacle to accountability because police officers refuse to testify against their colleagues. In this case, police unions have played a major role in raising the awareness of this police culture and even to some extent supported it.

Impact on City or County Finances

Police unions have played a critical role in negotiating a better salary package for their members. While it may be difficult to point the exact resulting impact of this, it is assumed that the police negotiations set the motion for negotiations by other county employees.

Impact on Police – Community Relations

Experts argue that police unions have a negative impact on police-community relations. For instance, according to Marks and Sklansky, the police have been accused in the past of failing to release the officer disciplinary records, which has hindered transparency.

Overall, police unions are important in policing. They have a major impact on routine management, police subculture, city and county finances, as well as police-community relations.


Marks, M., & Sklansky, D. A. (2014). Police reform from the bottom up: Officers and their unions as agents of change. London; New York: Routledge; Taylor & Francis Group.

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