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  • Citizens’ Dissatisfaction in Their Own Words

    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 presents findings from a textual analysis of survey respondents’ accounts of why they were dissatisfied with how they were treated by the police or with how their problem was handled. One of the “values added” through letting respondents frame their experience in their own words is that the data provide a level of detail and context not generally available through quantitative survey data. The findings reveal the concrete factors citizens attend to when assessing the quality of their interaction with the police, shed light on why they matter to citizens, and show how seemingly discrete factors “feed or fuel” one another. Ten main categories of sources of dissatisfaction are identified. The findings substantiate findings from quantitative studies that while outcomes matter, satisfaction is also driven by elements of procedural justice. They also show that citizens’ judgments are shaped by influences beyond the immediate encounter, including prior attitudes about law enforcement, as well as judgments about the interaction with actors other than uniformed patrol.

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    Worden R. & McLean S. 2017. Citizens’ Dissatisfaction in Their Own Words. In: Worden R. & McLean S, Mirage of Police Reform. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.30.e

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    Published on May 12, 2017