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NCJ Number: 50867 Find in a Library
Title: POLICE ROLES IN THE INNER CITY - PERCEPTIONS OF POLICE AND BLACK COMMUNITY RESIDENTS
Author(s): K L SINDWANI; R D BULLARD
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Texas Southern University
Houston, TX 77004
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PERCEPTIONS OF POLICE ROLES VARY WITH POLICE AND COMMUNITY RESIDENTS PLACING DIFFERENT EMPHASES ON THE ACTUAL ROLES OF THE POLICE, ALTHOUGH BOTH GROUPS EXPRESS SIMILAR VIEWS OF THE IDEAL ROLES.
Abstract: THIS VARIANCE MAY BE A FUNCTION OF THE CONTRADICTORY TASKS WHICH ARE GIVEN TO THE POLICE, INCLUDING THE ORDER MAINTENANCE AND SOCIAL SERVICES FUNCTIONS. A QUESTIONNAIRE (NOT INCLUDED) WAS ADMINISTERED TO 100 WHITE MALE POLICE OFFICERS IN A LARGE SOUTHWESTERN CITY DURING THE SUMMER OF 1977, AND ITS RESULTS WERE COMPARED WITH THE RESULTS OF A SIMILAR SURVEY ADMINISTERED TO A RANDOM SAMPLE OF 100 BLACK RESIDENTS (51 MALES AND 49 FEMALES) OF A PREDOMINANTLY BLACK URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD. THE PERCEIVED ROLES OF THE POLICE WERE GROUPED INTO CATEGORIES OF IDEAL AND REAL PERCEPTIONS. OF THE OFFICERS, 43 PERCENT, AND 45 PERCENT OF THE RESIDENTS INDICATED THAT POLICE IDEALLY SHOULD PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY. TWENTY-FIVE OF THE OFFICERS AND TWENTY PERCENT OF THE RESIDENTS RESIDENTS CONSIDERED THE IDEAL POLICE ROLE TO BE THAT OF ENFORCER, AND SMALLER GROUPS OF BOTH POLICE AND RESIDENTS CITED THE ROLES OF PUBLIC SERVANT AND APPREHENDER. ALTHOUGH CONSIDERABLE CONGRUENCE WAS FOUND CONCERNING THE IDEAL POLICE ROLE, THE TWO GROUPS DIVERGED IN THEIR PRECEPTIONS OF THE ACTUAL ROLE OF THE POLICE IN THE COMMUNITY. ONLY 13 PERCENT OF THE RESIDENTS INDICATED THAT POLICE WERE CARRYING OUT THE PROTECTOR ROLE. RESIDENTS TENDED TO VIEW THE ACTUAL POLICE FUNCTION TO BE APPREHENSION. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RESIDENTS' EXPECTATIONS AND PERCEPTIONS IS BELIEVED TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE ALIENATION BETWEEN POLICE AND MEMBERS OF THE URBAN COMMUNITY. THE POLICE THEMSELVES EXHIBITED ONLY SLIGHT DISCREPANCIES CONCERNING THEIR IDEAL AND THE ACTUAL ROLES. A LARGER PROPORTION OF THE POLICE THAN THE RESIDENTS VIEWED METHODS SUCH AS STRICT ENFORCEMENT AND LONGER SENTENCES AS EFFECTIVE MEANS OF IMPROVING PUBLIC SAFETY. RESIDENTS WERE MORE LIKELY TO FAVOR MEASURES SUCH AS RECRUITMENT OF BLACKS INTO THE POLICE DEPARTMENT. ALTHOUGH 75 PERCENT OF THE RESIDENTS FELT THAT THE IMPROVEMENT OF RECREATIONAL FACILITIES WOULD BE AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY-BASED STRATEGY, ONLY 33 PERCENT OF THE POLICE HELD THIS BELIEF. RESIDENTS SHOWED GREATER CONFIDENCE IN INDIRECT MEANS OF REDUCING CRIME. POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS SEMINARS ARE RECOMMENDED. TABLES OF THE SURVEY DATA AND REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (TWK)
Index Term(s): Police attitudes; Police community relations; Questionnaires; Recreation; Role conflict; Role perception; Self concept; Surveys
Note: PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOUTHWESTERN SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, HOUSTON, TX, APRIL 12, 1978
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50867

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