Protective Vests in Law Enforcement: a Pilot Survey of Public Perceptions

Protective Vests in Law Enforcement: a Pilot Survey of Public Perceptions The primary purpose of this study was to begin an examination of the relationship between public perception and the number of attachments on external protective vests worn by law enforcement. A secondary purpose was to examine perceptual differences between non-law enforcement majors and law enforcement majors. Images of six vests that systematically varied in the amount of external attachments were rated across eight attributes: (1) approachability, (2) militarized appearance, (3) intimidation, (4) professional appearance, (5) organization, (6) confidence instilled in an officer, (7) confidence instilled in the public, and (8) recognizable as law enforcement. Vests with more external attachments were rated as more militarized and intimidating. However, participants also rated militarized appearance and intimidation as the least important attributes when considering external protective vests. Confidence instilled (by the images of vests) in an officer and confidence instilled in the public were the highest-rated attributes. These findings suggest that a militarized and intimidating appearance might not detract from the public’s overall acceptance of external protective vests in law enforcement. In addition, law enforcement majors and non-law enforcement majors differed significantly in their ratings of all eight attributes. This suggests that exposure to law enforcement education might affect public perceptions of external protective vests. It is possible that education of the public on the function (e.g., load distribution) of external protective vest attachments might offset negative perceptions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology Springer Journals

Protective Vests in Law Enforcement: a Pilot Survey of Public Perceptions

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Society for Police and Criminal Psychology
Subject
Psychology; Psychology, general; Law and Psychology; Criminology and Criminal Justice, general
ISSN
0882-0783
eISSN
1936-6469
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11896-017-9237-x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to begin an examination of the relationship between public perception and the number of attachments on external protective vests worn by law enforcement. A secondary purpose was to examine perceptual differences between non-law enforcement majors and law enforcement majors. Images of six vests that systematically varied in the amount of external attachments were rated across eight attributes: (1) approachability, (2) militarized appearance, (3) intimidation, (4) professional appearance, (5) organization, (6) confidence instilled in an officer, (7) confidence instilled in the public, and (8) recognizable as law enforcement. Vests with more external attachments were rated as more militarized and intimidating. However, participants also rated militarized appearance and intimidation as the least important attributes when considering external protective vests. Confidence instilled (by the images of vests) in an officer and confidence instilled in the public were the highest-rated attributes. These findings suggest that a militarized and intimidating appearance might not detract from the public’s overall acceptance of external protective vests in law enforcement. In addition, law enforcement majors and non-law enforcement majors differed significantly in their ratings of all eight attributes. This suggests that exposure to law enforcement education might affect public perceptions of external protective vests. It is possible that education of the public on the function (e.g., load distribution) of external protective vest attachments might offset negative perceptions.

Journal

Journal of Police and Criminal PsychologySpringer Journals

Published: Apr 12, 2017

References

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