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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 179401 Find in a Library
Title: Community Alienation and Its Impact on Police
Journal: Police Chief  Volume:66  Issue:10  Dated:October 1999  Pages:150-153
Author(s): Robert C. Ankony Ph.D
Date Published: October 1999
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reports on the methodology and findings of a study that examined the impact of police alienation from the community on police decision-making and proactive enforcement.
Abstract: Essentially a sociological concept developed by several classical and contemporary theorists, alienation is a condition in social relationships reflected by a low degree of integration or common values and a high degree of distance or isolation between individuals or between an individual and a group in a community or work environment. Alienation is closely aligned with the concept of mastery, which is typically defined as a state of mind in which an individual feels autonomous and experiences confidence in his/her ability, skill, and knowledge to control or influence external events. The greater the level of alienation an individual experiences in a community or work setting, the weaker will be his/her sense of mastery. For police officers, a strong sense of mastery is particularly vital in relation to proactive law enforcement. This study of the impact of police alienation from the community on police decision-making and proactive policing involved a survey of police officers from 11 law enforcement agencies in the midwestern United States. The officers were grouped into three categories (high-, moderate-, and low-urban) based on the degree of urbanism of the community they served. A survey questionnaire was developed to measure respondents' level of perceived alienation, sense of mastery, and willingness to respond proactively both before and after three well-publicized "anti-police" court verdicts. Statistical analysis revealed a significant negative relationship between officers' alienation and mastery scores. These results support the predicted relationship between these factors. These findings suggest the need for creative approaches to reducing the impact of alienation on police performance. Some approaches are suggested in this article.
Main Term(s): Police community relations
Index Term(s): Police attitudes; Police crime-prevention; Police discretion; Proactive police units
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