skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 219219 Find in a Library
Title: Law Enforcement for Lawabiders
Author(s): Tracey L. Meares
Date Published: January 2007
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Police Foundation
Washington, DC 20036
Sale Source: Police Foundation
1201 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper addresses the link between legitimacy and compliance in law enforcement, specifically, the control and reduction of crime through social control, implemented through the promotion and transmission of lawabiding norms; an idea called “law enforcement for lawabiders.”
Abstract: Referred to as the “normative conception of law enforcement,” this paper attempts to demonstrate that the normative conception of law enforcement offers a vision of law enforcement and policing that is vastly different from the popular, get-tough-on-crime approach. It also attempts to demonstrate the normative law enforcement alternative may be more effective in terms of both crime reduction and doing less harm to community structure. The normative conception of law enforcement means to contrast a conception of law enforcement with one that is instrumental. That is, people obey the law because they fear the consequences if they do not. Also, people obey the law because the articulated law happens to comport with their own moral schedule and people obey the law because they believe that government has the right to dictate to them proper behavior, known as legitimacy. Legitimacy is viewed as the basis for normative compliance. This paper addresses the link between legitimacy and compliance because it is clear that by addressing issues of legitimacy and accountability at a general level, outcomes can also be affected. References
Main Term(s): Criminal responsibility
Index Term(s): Accountability; Crime prevention measures; Law enforcement; Law reform
Note: From Ideas in American Policing, No. 8, January 2007; downloaded on July 23, 2007.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.