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NCJ Number: 65744 Find in a Library
Title: RACIAL PREJUDICE AND POLICE TREATMENT OF BLACKS (FROM EVALUATING ALTERNATIVE LAW-ENFORCEMENT POLICIES, 1979, BY RALPH BAKER AND FRED A MEYER, JR - SEE NCJ-65735)
Author(s): R FRIEDRICH
Corporate Author: Lexington Books
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: IN A STUDY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN POLICE ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS, IT WAS FOUND THAT RACIAL PREJUDICE AMONG POLICE HAS LIMITED EFFECT ON THEIR ACTIONS WHILE ON DUTY, ESPECIALLY IN THE PRESENCE OF OTHERS.
Abstract: IT IS COMMONLY ASSUMED THAT POLICE ACTIONS ARE THE PRODUCT OF THEIR PERSONAL ATTITUDES, BUT SOME RESEARCHERS CLAIM ORGANIZATIONAL CONSTRAINTS ON POLICE DISCRETION ARE MORE IMPORTANT. INDEED, EVIDENCE IS LACKING FOR DISCRIMINATORY BEHAVIOR EVEN AMONG POLICE WITH STRONG RACIAL PREJUDICES. IT IS THUS HYPOTHESIZED THAT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS DEPENDS ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES: POLICE WILL ACT MORE PREJUDICALLY WHEN OTHER MEMBERS OF THE POLICE ORGANIZATION ARE NOT THERE TO OBSERVE. THIRTY-SIX OBSERVERS ACCOMPANIED POLICE ON 840 PATROLS TO OBSERVE OVER 11,000 POLICE-CITIZEN ENCOUNTERS IN THREE MAJOR CITIES. POLICE WERE INTERVIEWED ON THEIR FEELINGS TOWARD THEIR JOBS AND PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY, AND THEIR ACTIONS ON DUTY WERE RECORDED. IT WAS FOUND, IN GENERAL, THAT A POLICEMAN'S ATTITUDE TOWARD BLACKS HAS A LIMITED EFFECT ON HIS BEHAVIOR, WHICH IS FURTHER QUALIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND TEMPERAMENT OF THE CITIZEN ENCOUNTERED. MOREOVER, IN THE CASE OF ARREST, THE PRESENCE OF OTHER POLICE SOFTENS THE EFFECT WHICH AN OFFICER'S OWN RACIAL VIEWS HAVE ON HIS DECISIONS. SINCE THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY ARE LIMITED, POLICY BASED ON THEM OR GENERALIZATIONS TO ALL U.S. POLICE ARE RISKY. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT, WHILE PROMOTING BETTER ATTITUDES ABOUT BLACKS WILL NOT GREATLY CHANGE POLICE BEHAVIOR TOWARD BLACKS, INCREASING THE POLICE DEPARTMENT'S VISIBILITY AMONG ITS OFFICERS SHOULD HELP INSURE EQUAL TREATMENT. NOTES AND TABLES ARE INCLUDED. (PAP)
Index Term(s): Civil disobedience; Police attitudes; Police community relations; Police decisionmaking; Police discretion; Race relations; Racial discrimination; Work attitudes
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