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NCJ Number: 227903 Find in a Library
Title: Media, the Public, and the Law Environment Community: Correcting Misperceptions
Journal: The Police Chief  Volume:76  Issue:6  Dated:June 2009  Pages:62-67
Author(s): Michael Tooley; Jeffrey Linkenbach; Brian J. Lande; Gary M. Lande
Date Published: June 2009
Page Count: 6
Document: HTML
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the misperceptions of police officers on how the media, the public, and the internal law enforcement community perceive them and addresses ways in which to correct these misperceptions.
Abstract: Results of a study conducted by the Montana Highway Patrol and researchers from Montana State University on how law enforcement officers across the United States are perceived by the public indicate a nationwide consensus opinion among law enforcement officers that they are distrusted by the public. Law enforcement officers firmly believed that the populations they serve had primarily negative perceptions of them. However, study findings also indicate that 85.3 percent of persons responding to the survey were supportive of the law enforcement community. The results also indicate that people typically disregard media reports when it comes to forming their own opinion of police officers. The negative way the law enforcement community believes the public perceives it is reinforced not only by the public and the media but often by senior officers as well. The result is if negative behaviors or attitudes are perceived to be the standard in a social group, the social urge to conform will negatively affect overall behavior and attitudes of the group members. Addressing social norms is a new and sometimes controversial approach to changing behaviors and turning the tide of misperception. It is critical to understand that to promote positive community norms agencies must work proactively with the media and use the tools of social science. 4 notes
Main Term(s): Public Opinion of the Police
Index Term(s): Community support; Media coverage; Perception; Police-citizen interactions; Police-media relations
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