In an attempt to reap the purported benefits that “knowledge workers” bring to organizations, many police departments have shifted to a community problem–oriented policing philosophy. Rather than focusing on enforcement and incarceration, this philosophy is based on the dissemination of information to promote a proactive, preventative approach to reduce crime and disorder. In keeping with much of the contemporary literature on the “learning organization” (sometimes called the “knowledge organization”), police departments hope to deter crime through the knowledge benefits that derive from information and its associated technologies. With goals to stimulate productivity, performance, and effectiveness, police departments across the country are employing information technology to turn police officers into problem solvers and to leverage their intellectual capital to preempt crime and neighborhood deterioration.

Many public and private organizations are striving to change their operations toward this same concept of the knowledge worker. Information technology is often touted as a vehicle for capturing, tracking, sorting, and providing information to advance knowledge, thus leading to improvements in service–delivery efforts. Based on an extensive study of police departments that have attempted to implement a knowledge–worker paradigm (supported by information technology initiatives), this research explores the feasibility, effectiveness, and limitations of information and technology in promoting the learning organization in the public sector.