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Demeanor and police culture

Demeanor and police culture The purpose of this paper is to revisit classic theoretical arguments regarding the broad effects of civilian demeanor on policing and extend associated findings.Design/methodology/approachThe theoretical framework draws on insights from the literatures on police culture, the group engagement model and fairness heuristic theory. The authors argue that demeanor is best conceptualized as the degree of procedural justice exhibited by civilians toward police. Theoretically, procedurally just cooperation should influence officers’ adherence to police culture by affecting their social identification and assessments of civilians’ motives and moral deservingness. To test the hypotheses, the authors surveyed sworn officers from a large metropolitan police department in the southeastern USA in the Fall of 2016.FindingsResults reveal that officers use their procedural justice judgments as heuristics to assess civilians’ trustworthiness, dangerousness, and moral deservingness, and these judgments influence their policing style. Officers who perceive greater procedurally just cooperation by civilians feel less threatened by the public, are more willing to use procedural justice themselves, and are less supportive of a “tough cop” policing style.Originality/valueThe authors propose that: civilian demeanor is best conceptualized as the extent to which civilians exhibit procedural fairness toward the police; and in order for meaningful police reform to occur, it is important to acknowledge the role of civilian demeanor in shaping officers’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1363-951X
DOI
10.1108/pijpsm-09-2018-0133
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to revisit classic theoretical arguments regarding the broad effects of civilian demeanor on policing and extend associated findings.Design/methodology/approachThe theoretical framework draws on insights from the literatures on police culture, the group engagement model and fairness heuristic theory. The authors argue that demeanor is best conceptualized as the degree of procedural justice exhibited by civilians toward police. Theoretically, procedurally just cooperation should influence officers’ adherence to police culture by affecting their social identification and assessments of civilians’ motives and moral deservingness. To test the hypotheses, the authors surveyed sworn officers from a large metropolitan police department in the southeastern USA in the Fall of 2016.FindingsResults reveal that officers use their procedural justice judgments as heuristics to assess civilians’ trustworthiness, dangerousness, and moral deservingness, and these judgments influence their policing style. Officers who perceive greater procedurally just cooperation by civilians feel less threatened by the public, are more willing to use procedural justice themselves, and are less supportive of a “tough cop” policing style.Originality/valueThe authors propose that: civilian demeanor is best conceptualized as the extent to which civilians exhibit procedural fairness toward the police; and in order for meaningful police reform to occur, it is important to acknowledge the role of civilian demeanor in shaping officers’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.

Journal

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Jul 22, 2019

Keywords: Trust; Procedural justice; Police culture; Policing; Occupational attitudes

References