The jurisdictions in Warren County suffer from interorganizational conflict as they share a common purpose to eliminate crystal meth labs but don’t know how to work together to solve the problem. As a result, the Warren County officers were subject to both role conflict and role ambiguity. The goal in creating a drug task force was to have a group of officers available to bust meth labs and arrest perpetrators. However, all police departments involved were unaware of the difficulty and challenges this task required and were therefore largely unsuccessful in reaching their goal.
Role conflict occurred because the officers designated as part of the tactical response team were not properly trained to deal with the wide range of issues present when taking down a meth lab. These officers were expected to destroy meth labs and arrest perpetrators but they didn’t know exactly what was expected of them. For example, superiors never informed the tactical response team to notify the fire department so they could assist with hazardous materials. This lack of communication led to many problems before the subordinate officers realized they needed help. After several months, Warren County realized that the drug force wasn’t really serving any purpose because no one was quite sure what they were supposed to be doing nor were they properly informed of what the job consisted of.
Role ambiguity was present in this case when officers expected to destroy meth labs and arrest perpetrators received unclear guidelines regarding the proper protocol necessary. The officers in charge of finding and eliminating meth labs were never trained in the proper and safe way to accomplish this task. Therefore, the tactical response team didn’t even have the necessary knowledge about the dangers of meth labs and what it takes to properly get rid of one. The tragic example of the elderly man who was shot and killed is powerful evidence of what can go wrong when drug officers are not properly trained.
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