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The Importance of Research on Race and Policing: Making Race Salient to Individuals and Institutions Within Criminal Justice

Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2007

U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-05

21 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2007 Last revised: 11 Feb 2008

David A. Harris

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Abstract

For years, criminologists have directed research efforts at questions at the intersection of race and law enforcement. This has not always been welcomed by practitioners, to put it mildly; rather, many police officers view research focused on race and policing as nothing short of an attempt to paint the policing profession and police officers as racist.

This commentary argues that, to the contrary, research into race and policing can still impart to everyone in our society, including police officers and their law enforcement institutions, much that they do not know about how race plays a role in both routine and non-routine police activity. For everything that police believe that they know about race and law enforcement based on their own experience, social science research has taught them much that they do not know - and has addressed many long-held misconceptions of which most officers were not aware. Several examples are discussed.

Keywords: policing, criminology, race, race and policing, racial profiling, quality of life policing

Suggested Citation

Harris, David A., The Importance of Research on Race and Policing: Making Race Salient to Individuals and Institutions Within Criminal Justice. Criminology & Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2007; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1009295

David A. Harris (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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