Community policing creates the expectation that oficers will become more selective in making arrests and that those decisions will be influenced more by extralegal considerations and less by legal ones. Data on 451 nontraffic police‐suspect encounters were drawn from ridealong observations in Richmond, Virginia, where the police department was implementing community policing. The arrest/no arrest decision is regressed on variables representing legal and extralegal characteristics of the situation. Legal variables show much stronger effects than extralegal ones, but that depends upon the officer's attitude toward community policing. Supporters of community policing are, as predicted, more selective in making arrests and much less influenced by legal variables than are officers with negative views. However, pro‐community‐policing officers are like negative officers in the extent of influence exerted by extralegal factors. There are some differences between the two groups of officers on the strength and direction of effects of predictor variables taken individually, but only 1 of 17 is significant. Thus, in a time of community policing, officers who support it do manifest some arrest decision patterns distinguishable from those of colleagues who adhere to a more traditional view of law enforcement.
Criminology – Wiley
Published: Nov 1, 1995
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