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NCJ Number: 70086 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Development of Attitudes Toward Law Enforcement
Journal: Police  Volume:3  Dated:(1958)  Pages:1-5
Author(s): C G Wirths
Date Published: 1958
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Grant Number: 068
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Factors affecting the development of a person's attitudes toward law enforcement are discussed.
Abstract: Bronislaw Malinowski developed the basic concept for understanding the development of foundational attitudes toward law enforcement. Malinowski noted that human beings are by nature willful and egocentric. The parents' structuring of pleasure and pain experiences in relation to desired and forbidden behavior exploits egocentricism as a means of controlling behavior. Such parental upbringing tends to develop the attitude that obedience to the norms administered by authority figures is the safest and least painful course for behavior. Should parents succeed in reaching the child that obedience to the norms of authority figures is in their best interests, police will be accepted as legitimate, helpful authority figures; however, should parents fail to elicit obedience to authoritative norms, the children will grow up tending to resent the exercise of police authority. While general attitudes toward persons in authority emerge from parental interactions with the child, specific attitudes toward law enforcement and police are generated by the interplay of family and societal teachings with personal experiences. Parents' behavior and attitudes toward police, the behavior of police officers in relation to the citizen, and fictional stereotypes of police are variables that affect the formation of specific attitudes toward police. The most important variable is the quality of police interaction with citizens. Three references are provided.
Index Term(s): Police community relations; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Sociology
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