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  • Procedural Justice and Street-Level Sensemaking

    Robert E. Worden, Sarah J. McLean

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


    The management continuum reflects a process of “sensemaking” on the part of police middle managers and immediate supervisors, and the same process of sensemaking played out among patrol officers. Officers’ views on how they should do their jobs, particularly how they should interact with citizens, are forces that mediate the implementation of a procedural justice model of policing, and many officers did not embrace procedural justice concepts. Forming a continuum of resistance, some were receptive to the emphasis on customer service, while others were more guarded about it, and some were flatly opposed to it. Managers must interpret agency mandates and whether and how to manage the things that get measured. The rank-and-file also must make sense of administrative mandates, but what customer service entails and the reasons behind the department’s commitment to customer service were not well understood. Patrol officers filled in the blanks left by these ambiguities—it is about “politics,” “pandering to the public and the media,” or “finding mistakes and placing blame.” Some officers misrepresented—either intentionally or unintentionally—core principles of procedural justice and, based on these misrepresentations, created fallacies or myths.

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    Worden R. & McLean S. 2017. Procedural Justice and Street-Level Sensemaking. In: Worden R. & McLean S, Mirage of Police Reform. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.30.i

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    Published on May 12, 2017