Making sense of civil service reform: Policing, politics and power in eugene, oregon during the great depression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


In February 1936, a vice scandal rocked the town of Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A. Evidence was produced to show that local police had allowed gambling and prostitution to continue contrary to law. Within a year, civil service rules had been introduced at the Eugene Police Department. These rules ‘reformed’ policing by breaking the direct links between police and ward politicians. By accessing a range of primary source materials including newspapers, oral histories, census data and crime statistics, and, by situating the ‘scandal’ within a broader historical framework, this article explores the ways in which civil service reform might best be understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-119
Number of pages29
JournalPolicing and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1993
Externally publishedYes



  • Civil service
  • Patronage
  • Police history
  • Reform
  • Rule of law
  • Vice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science

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