American Policing at a Crossroads
46 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2010 Last revised: 10 Feb 2011
Date Written: August 23, 2010
As victimization rates have fallen, public preoccupation with policing and its crime control impact has receded. Terrorism has become the new focal point of concern. But satisfaction with ordinary police practices hides deep problems. The time is therefore ripe for rethinking the assumptions that have guided American police for most of the past two decades. This essay proposes an empirically grounded shift to what we call a procedural justice model of policing. When law enforcement moves toward this approach, it can be more effective, at lower cost and without the negative side effects that currently hamper responses to terrorism and conventional crime. This essay describes the procedural justice model, explains its theoretical and empirical foundations, and discusses its policy implications, both for ordinary policing and for efforts to combat international terrorism.
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