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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75951 Find in a Library
Title: Comparison of Racial Attitudes - Right of Police To Strike
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(Winter 1980)  Pages:191-201
Author(s): D J Giacopassi; R H Anson; G V Donnenwerth
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Blacks are more supportive of police strikes than whites, according to this study of university undergraduates and of a referendum vote of the general electorate in Memphis, Tenn.
Abstract: Short questionnaires were given to 413 social science students in a large university 5 weeks before, during, and 5 weeks after the Memphis police strike of 1978. The ages of the students ranged from 17 to 55 but converged on 24, and 28 precent of them were black. The questionnaire included items pertaining to the right of police to strike, the effect of the strike on rising crime rates, disruptions to community services, and the degree to which respondents feared for their personal safety. Likert scale response categories ranged from one to nine. The findings showed that blacks were more favorably disposed toward strike activity than their white counterparts. The relationship between race and attitudes was reexamined by focusing on actual voting patterns within Memphis precincts. The returns of a referendum held in Memphis (less than 3 months after the strike) on the right of public employees to strike were examined. To this end, the results of a cross tabulation between the percentage of registered black voters in a precinct and the precentage of 'no' votes tabulated in the same precinct for the antistrike referendum were analyzed. The results confirmed the findings from the study of university students. These results were contrary to expectations. Since studies conducted during the period from 1966 to 1974 showed a negative attitude of blacks toward the police, it was expected that black citizens would be less sympathetic toward the problems and working conditions of police officers. Apparently, blacks perceived service employment in the public sector as an avenue of upward mobility after civil rights legislation and affirmative action policies enabled an increasing number of minority group members to enter the public sector. Consequently, they manifested greater support for municipal unionism, militancy, and strike activity. Police traditionally looked for support from white citizens while ignoring the leadership structure within the black community. This study showed that the weak police ties to black citizens were strengthened as a result of their support for the strike in Memphis. Statistical and tabular data, footnotes, and about 20 references are included.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Police community relations; Police responsibilities; Police unions; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Strikes; Tennessee
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