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  • Police Legitimacy

    Robert E. Worden, Sarah J. McLean

    Chapter from the book: Worden R. & McLean S. 2017. Mirage of Police Reform: Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy.


    This chapter briefly reviews extant research on police legitimacy and, more generally, public attitudes toward the police. Previous research findings testify to the myriad influences on citizens’ outlooks, which are subject to long-term forces and to factors that are more narrowly circumscribed temporally and spatially, among which direct, personal experiences with the police are but one. The chapter also briefly discusses parallels between customer satisfaction in various industries and the “customers” of police, and the role of police in precipitating civil unrest. Finally, the methodology of a police contact survey is described. Semi-monthly samples of people who had contact with Schenectady or Syracuse police were selected and interviewed over eighteen months. Survey findings about their trust in and sense of obligation toward the police are summarized. Fairly high levels of trust and confidence were found in both cities.

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    Worden R. & McLean S. 2017. Police Legitimacy. In: Worden R. & McLean S, Mirage of Police Reform. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.30.c

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    Published on May 12, 2017