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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 72420 Find in a Library
Title: Problem Interactions Between the Police and the Public
Journal: Crime et/and Justice  Volume:7-8  Issue:2  Dated:(1979-80)  Pages:113-118
Author(s): C T Barret; K E Renner; T Moore
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Incidents between a police officer and a citizen which were perceived as negative by either the police or the public were analyzed to discover the nature of the relationship and the source of problematic police-citizen encounters.
Abstract: Each patrol officer of a 95 officer Police Department in midwestern U.S.A. was interviewed three times regarding his or her most problematic encounter with a citizen in the last tour of duty. Citizens were then interviewed regarding their opinion of the appropriateness of the police officers' behavior in incidents the police officers saw as problematic. Findings showed that when the police were asked to provide examples of problem situations in which the citizen behaved in inappropriate and unacceptable ways from the police perspective -- situations in which the citizen is most likely to be truly blameworthy--only three out of five citizens supported the judgment of the police officer, and this support faded when the initial encounter expanded into a conflict. It appears that what police officers regard as problem police-citizen encounters due to citizen failures, is not shared by the public. The grouping of instances of problematic citizen behavior as defined by the police allows the police to examine the situations and develop strategies aimed at reducing the level of conflict between themselves and the public. Public education programs in which reasons for certain police actions are explained might serve to prevent instances in which the citizen either would not cooperate or disagreed with certain police action. Alleviating police-citizen conflict can also be brought about by training police officers to handle sensitive situations more adeptly; in this respect officers can share each other's skills in handling difficult cases. Citizen feedback is essential to knowing where police training and community relations programs are needed. Incident technique and cluster analysis provide a simple and efficient means of gathering that information. Tables illustrate the study technique and two references are provided.
Index Term(s): Citizen grievances; Citizen satisfaction; Police attitudes; Police community relations; Public Attitudes/Opinion
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