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Good guys wear black: uniform color and citizen impressions of police

Good guys wear black: uniform color and citizen impressions of police Purpose – The purpose of this article is to examine whether officer uniform color influences impressions the public forms about the character of police officers. Design/methodology/approach – A survey using digitally manipulated photographic prompts was used to examine how various levels of officer race, posture, and uniform color as well as a number of other experiential, attitudinal and demographic variables influenced subjects' impressions of officers' character on factor scores constructed from a set of semantic differential scales. Findings – Officer uniform color influences impression formation, but not in the expected manner. Black uniforms elicited more positive impressions of officers than did lighter uniforms. Research limitations/implications – Convenience sample was drawn from university undergraduates. Practical implications – Darker uniforms for police may enhance favorable character impressions formed by some sectors of the public. Originality/value – The research instrument improves measurement validity over prior methods while maintaining a precise experimental control. Findings contradict the conclusions of prior research on public perceptions of darker vs lighter police uniforms. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management Emerald Publishing

Good guys wear black: uniform color and citizen impressions of police

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1363-951X
DOI
10.1108/13639510810852585
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to examine whether officer uniform color influences impressions the public forms about the character of police officers. Design/methodology/approach – A survey using digitally manipulated photographic prompts was used to examine how various levels of officer race, posture, and uniform color as well as a number of other experiential, attitudinal and demographic variables influenced subjects' impressions of officers' character on factor scores constructed from a set of semantic differential scales. Findings – Officer uniform color influences impression formation, but not in the expected manner. Black uniforms elicited more positive impressions of officers than did lighter uniforms. Research limitations/implications – Convenience sample was drawn from university undergraduates. Practical implications – Darker uniforms for police may enhance favorable character impressions formed by some sectors of the public. Originality/value – The research instrument improves measurement validity over prior methods while maintaining a precise experimental control. Findings contradict the conclusions of prior research on public perceptions of darker vs lighter police uniforms.

Journal

Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Mar 7, 2008

Keywords: Police; Clothing and accessories; Colour; Corporate identity

References