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An Examination of Police Department Uniform Color and Police–Citizen Aggression

An Examination of Police Department Uniform Color and Police–Citizen Aggression

Abstract

People usually associate the color black with aggression. Previous studies have revealed that people are perceived as more aggressive, and act more aggressively, when wearing dark clothes. To investigate the influence of black clothing on criminal justice agency personnel, this study examined whether police departments that wear dark uniforms are more aggressive than those that wear lighter uniforms. It was predicted that departments utilizing black uniforms would experience more assaults on officers, citizens killed by police, and excessive force complaints. No statistically significant difference was found between departments wearing black and light uniforms after controlling for community contextual variables. The potential reasons for the inconsistency between this study and previous research findings are discussed, as are recommendations for further study.
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