Our Uneasiness with Police Unions: Power and Voice for the Powerful?

21 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2018 Last revised: 3 Dec 2018

See all articles by Marcia L. McCormick

Marcia L. McCormick

Saint Louis University - School of Law

Date Written: 2015


The police shooting of Michael Brown, and the other recent police shootings of black men and boys, gave rise to many important discussions about race, inequality, power, and policing. But one issue not as widely discussed was the role and propriety of police unions. This Essay describes the history and uniqueness of public sector unions, such as police unions, and why they are both useful and problematic.

This Essay describes ways police unions might be used to help solve the current problems, such as helping to connect officers with the community. The Federal and State governments have provided recommendations for police department reform in the wake of protests, but did they miss an opportunity by leaving out the potential work of police unions?

Keywords: Police unions, police relations, police reform, public sector unions, police training, collective bargaining, protests, Black Lives Matter

Suggested Citation

McCormick, Marcia L., Our Uneasiness with Police Unions: Power and Voice for the Powerful? (2015). Saint Louis University Public Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 47, 2015; Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3285422

Marcia L. McCormick (Contact Author)

Saint Louis University - School of Law ( email )

100 N. Tucker Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63101
United States

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