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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78466 Find in a Library
Title: Black Police Officer - An Historical Perspective
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice  Volume:1  Issue:4  Dated:(1980)  Pages:4-11
Author(s): J L Kuykendall; D E Burns
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The use and role of black Americans as police officers from the early 1860's through the mid-1960's are examined.
Abstract: Despite the data limitations of this study, it is apparent that the employment of blacks as police officers has increased steadily since 1940. Using the criterion of proportional employment (blacks shall be employed in proportion to their number in the population), blacks were not proportionally represented in police ranks by 1970, but in the 1960's, they were being employed at a rate (14.78 percent) of growth higher than their numbers in the population. Given recent court and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirmative action rulings, it is likely that blacks will be proportionately represented among police by the mid-1980's. Strategies of discrimination used against black police historically have included discrimination in appointments, testing procedures, promotions, duty assignments, area assignments, efficiency ratings, use of departmental facilities, treatment by supervisors, arrest powers, and salaries. By the mid-1960's, the organizational practices of overt discrimination had been altered but replaced by the overt and covert discrimination of some individual officers. Compared to the effectiveness of white police officers in their treatment of black citizens, black police performance may be an improvement, although one study (Reiss, 1971) has concluded that both white and black officers are more likely to use force unduly against citizens of their own race. The increasing impetus for black police employment resulting from affirmative action after the 1960's may show more of a concern for equality in employment than improved excellence in police performance. Excellence in perfornance must be the final goal of police recruitment and training if citizens are to receive the quality of police services they require. Tabular data, 1 note, and 24 references are provided. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Minority recruitment; Police effectiveness; Police personnel; Racial discrimination
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