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Attitudes of the Community vs. Police: Twenty Years Ago and Now | Literature Review

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2116 words Published: 5th Aug 2019

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Constantly under the scrutiny of the public eye, police officers throughout the country have found themselves in the predicament of being seen more as the enemy and not as the collective ally. The idea that the community has increasingly turned their backs on the support of the police has spanned for a greater part of the last couple of decades or so. As more and more minorities are exposed to the social media limelight as victims of police brutality, fatal or not, the general public solemnly gawks at the police force as a whole and protests to the highest of extents in hopes of national law enforcement reform. The shift of attitude the public has towards law enforcement has consistently teetered towards the negative over the years.  It has been theorized that police have profiled individuals in hopes of a bust utilizing the individuals’ characteristics such has location of residence, skin color or ethnicity, and even condition of vehicle. These factors have drawn police officers to form false assumptions on an individual and cause the police brutality rates to sky rocket especially of those undeserving of force. How exactly has the community’s attitude towards police, both domestically and globally, taken shape over the past few decades? While just a handful of police officers have shown their face on national news due to them being under investigation for unfair and excessive force towards one person, the sources do suggest that these instances have a direct relationship with the increasing dislike of police across the country. (wc: 261)

Brandl, S.G., J. Frank, R.E. Worden, and T.S. Bynum. 1994. “Global and Specific Attitudes toward the Police: Disentangling the Relationship.” Justice Quarterly 11:119-134

Brandl, Frank, Worden, and Bynum’s article delves into the world of law enforcement and the reflection of such on communities all throughout the United States. The article’s thesis compares domestic attitudes towards police with more of a global assessment towards police officers to show monotony. The main focus in the article is how the different demographics throughout the country feel towards police and how over time, that feeling has changed.  The writers of the article utilize data throughout in the form of statistic tables to show the low support of minorities towards police officers both globally and domestically. The author asserts that the results of public views on the police globally is directly related to the views domestically as well. He also asserts that the main goal of the law enforcement in hostile communities or that possess upmost skepticism towards the police is to improve this public opinion, but has not seen any improvement whatsoever.

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The article appears in the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which is a nationally renowned registry of journals and articles with one goal in mind: to advance the science and art of law enforcement. The main contributor of the article, Steven Brandl is a well-known scholar in the criminal justice community, receiving his degree from Michigan State University with distinguished honors. He works alongside Tim Bynum at Michigan State University’s Criminology Department where they teach various courses at high levels. This work was published in 2006 right before the Sean Bell shooting incident, which was one of the most historical cases of police brutality in the history of the United States. This incident caused more of a shift towards the negative of the public’s view on police officers nation-wide. Although it was one incident, the public saw this as a representation of law enforcement as a whole by one officer. Which pretty adequately answers the question: why does the community continuously move towards a negative opinion towards police officers? (wc:325)

Chow, Henry. “Attitudes towards Police in Canada.” 2012. International Journal of Criminal Justice 7.0 (2012) 508-523. Official Journal of the South Asian Society of Criminology. Web. January-June 2012.

Henry Chow’s article looks into the impact of police on the public on a global scale. Throughout his article, he accounts multiple scholars that have documented the attitudes that youth specifically have had towards police in the Canadian community. The article’s analysis of the data itself presents, has shown that the attitudes of police in a different country(Canada) has, over the years, become increasingly negative. When compared to the older population, young individuals under the age of 25 seem to have a much more hostile viewpoint towards the police. The data within the article asserts the idea that contact with the police has become more of a personal safety concern within the community over the years.

This journal article is definitely far from being on par with a conventional journal, but does include peer review from some of his fellow colleagues and findings from other scholars in this field. This journal is definitely a research journal. The overall goal of this article was to provide an insightful look into the public’s eye in a different country. The news in the United States is one thing but about in a completely different country? Mr. Henry Chow is a professor within the Department of Sociology and Social Studies at the University of Regina in Canada. He is absolutely an expert in the field of criminology and is a member of the Asian Society of Criminology, a group of scholars of Asian dissent that promote the study and research of Criminal Justice throughout the world. This article was published about 5 years ago and proves that the attitudes of the public have remained the same in Canada. Henry Chow makes a very valid argument that the public opinion of police has consistently remained both skeptical and overall negative, but more particularly within the younger age groups. The attitudes of American citizens and Canadian citizens overlap when pertaining to the police. The attitudes are definitely comparable and both countries have strong relatable relationships with police that have consistently been developing over the years.

Robert T. Sigler & Timothy M. Dees, “To Serve and Collect: Measuring Police Corruption”, Public Perception of Petty Corruption in Law Enforcement, 16 J. POLICE SCI.& ADMIN. 14, 18 (2000).

In this originally published 2000 article by Mr. Sigler and Dees, it measures the significant impact on the community that corruption within one’s own police department has throughout the world. Dees accounts a massive amount of statistical data organized into tables to further prove his thesis on corruption. The data listed in the table and the arguments and counter arguments made throughout this extensively written article asserts that police corruption of any sort in any country is present and does way more harm than good.

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This article’s goal is to provide statistical and empirical evidence to draw readers into the inevitable conclusion of the malice that police corruption throughout the entire world harnesses. This article has found its way to many very scholarly journals that have been peer reviewed by law enforcement officers and professors of criminology all over the world. This article may be more than a decade old, but it delves into the spark that started the fire of police corruption all throughout the United States while at the same time, this journal expands our knowledge not just domestically but internationally. This article as originally written right before one of the most infamous instances of police corruption took place in November of 2000, when 3 police officers were caught red-handed filing a false police report and have collaborated on stealing one million dollars-worth of illegal narcotics. This article brings together just one of the reasons why attitudes towards police throughout not just the United States but the entire world, has predominantly shifted towards the negative, because of corruption. Mr. Robert Sigler is an expert in the field of criminology having published over 50+ articles tearing apart, piece by piece, the global criminal justice system. Mr. Sigler was a professor of Criminology at the University of Alabama (now retired). Mr. Sigler’s works have appeared in the prestigious, Carolina Academic Press which is the largest publisher of law school textbooks in the country. Timothy Dees, on the other hand, is a member of the Public Agency Training Council where he is a certified law enforcement instructor. His articles have amassed nearly 300 from criminal justice to medical technology. He obtained his master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama and has taught criminology courses in colleges in 5 different states. He is the editor-in-chief of the prestigious Officer.com which is the most widely visited law enforcement column website on the internet today.

Chermak, S., McGarrell, E., and Gruenewald, J., 2006. “Media coverage of police misconduct and attitudes toward police”. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, 29 (2), 261-281.

Engulfed in the public eye as well as the mass media’s, police are constantly under some sort of scrutiny rather it be positive or negative. The majority of news articles do not necessarily paint a pretty picture of police as stated in this 2006 article that unwraps the effects of the media on the public and how it shape-shifts their attitudes towards their public safety officials. This scholarly article analyzes the overall message that many news outlets across the globe send out to their customers, citizens, etc. Chermak, McGarrell, and Gruenewald ‘s article gives a harsh analysis of the relationships of news media and police officers and provides historical analysis to further concrete their stance in the article.

This article provides a direct insight on what the police’s exposure throughout the media has caused the public to feel. What we read on the internet is not always necessarily true but when you give an individual a camera, a journal, and access to a publishing website viewed by millions, one police officer’s reputation could quickly go down the drain. This article also unfolds the fact that since the news media isn’t so positive toward the police, that the crime rates throughout are skyrocketing. This article takes a historically based approach with statistical evidence to prove that the public’s attitudes toward police, although definitely influenced by the news, is dominantly negative and is just getting worse over time from newspaper to electronic articles online. Steven Chermak is the lead investigator on the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror. Which is a national consortium focused on analyzing behavior patterns throughout the population and drawing conclusions and offering solutions to potential threats. He is also a profess of Criminal Justice at the Michigan State University where he has taught for over a decade. His work and research is so credible that the Federal Department of Homeland Security has funded his projects right alongside the National Institute of Justice and the Michigan State Police. He is definitely considered an expert in his mastered art of criminal justice throughout the entire country. Alongside Mr. Chermak at the Michigan State University, Edmund McGarrell is a professor and the director of Criminal Justice studies at the school. He has published many articles that have appeared in the prestigious Crime and Justice Research Alliance. Many of his piers consider him an expert in gun violence, gangs, and crime prevention. Some of his research projects have also been funded by the Department of Homeland Security. In collaboration with all of the men listed above, Mr. Jeff Gruenewald is currently an assistant professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, the same place he received his Ph.D in 2009. He has also proven his mastery of criminal studies and has landed himself a spot on the investigations team at the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism consortium that his colleague, Chermak is the lead investigator of. Mr. Gruenewald has published many articles over the course of his studies and many of his articles appear on the Extremist Crime website which is a national web consortium of crime and a database on research.


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