Presentation on theme: "Dr. Jacinta M. Gau Associate Professor Department of Criminal Justice"— Presentation transcript:
1 Dilemmas in Procedural Justice: Reconciling Police Training and Culture with Citizen Expectations Dr. Jacinta M. GauAssociate ProfessorDepartment of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Central Florida
2 What is Legitimacy?Every authority needs to justify the power it holds over the populaceEspecially when that authority possesses the ability to induce compliance by physical force or violenceThere are different types of legitimacyRational legitimacy is the heart of modern systems of government and bureaucracy
3 What is Legitimacy?Rational legitimacy (legitimacy) is earned when an authority acts in an honest, open mannerThe government or agency’s purpose is clearly identifiedThe government or agency has a set of laws, policies, and/or procedures that govern its operationsThe government or agency is accountable to the public and to other governmental bodies or agencies
4 What is Legitimacy?Legitimacy is governance by consent. Members of the citizenry voluntarily submit to an authority figure when they trust that authority to use its power responsiblyPlacing trust in an agency or person makes the trustor vulnerable to the trustee, the latter of whom holds the power in the relationship
5 Legitimacy and Compliance Legitimacy promotes widespread, voluntary complianceAn agency responsible for maintaining public order cannot constantly monitor every location and every citizen. The citizenry must self- regulateExercise self-controlHold one another accountableBe willing to work with the authority to solve problems
6 Legitimacy and Compliance in Policing Compliance with the law and obedience to individual officers’ commandsIn maintaining order, police rely heavily on voluntary complianceOrdering a crowd to disperse, ordering loiterers or suspicious-looking individuals to leave the area, getting people to call the police to report problems, getting witnesses to provide information, etc.Can’t arrest everybody who disrupts public spaces or commits crime. Officers need to have multiple options– not just arrest– for maintaining order
7 Two Levels of Legitimacy The meso level: the organization/agencyThe micro level: the individual actors/employeesThe two interactThe amount of legitimacy that the organization has will determine how much legitimacy its employees possessThe day-to-day actions of the employees and the way they interact with members of the public affect not only their individual legitimacy, but also that of the organization
8 The Origins and Maintenance of Legitimacy The origins are in transparency and accountability, as discussedDay-to-day maintenance, however, requires organizations and actors to continuously demonstrate their judicious, prudent use of the power they holdThe procedural justice model of police legitimacy proposes that respectful treatment of civilians helps police maintain legitimacy. Treating people respectfully and with dignity shows civilians that officers take their responsibility seriously, and that officers recognize that they are powerful, but also accountable
9 Procedural JusticeProcedural justice enhances both individual and meso levels of legitimacyPeople feel more trusting of individual employeesPeople believe that the organization is properly training and supervising its employees, making sure they remain true to the stated mission/goal of the organization
10 Procedural JusticeProcedural justice can enhance police legitimacy and, thus, promote compliance and obedienceCompliance and obedience are stronger when achieved through PJ than through the threat of arrestDeterrence is spotty, especially for lower-level offenses. People might think something is no big deal, or know they will probably get away with it.Can’t arrest everyone
11 The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice PJ has another side, one grounded in social psychology (the study of how people interact with their social environment)The social psychology of authority holds that an authority figure’s treatment of a subordinate conveys information about the value that the authority figure places on the subordinateRude or dismissive treatment = “I don’t care about you.”Respectful and fair treatment = “You are important to me.”
12 The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice This is particularly relevant in policingThe types of behaviors considered “inside” the law and “outside” it convey information about social values and moralityWhen you are inside the law, you are also inside society. You are accepted and valuedWhen you are outside the law, you are a condemned and rejectedNobody wants to be criticized or rejected. Humans have an innate need to be valued and respected by society. They want to feel like they are a part of it
13 The Social Psychology of Procedural Justice Police– as society’s sworn enforcers of social values and morals– inevitably become the ones who make judgments about who is “good” and who is “bad” in the eyes of society at-largePolice officers’ actions are both instrumental and symbolicAn officer’s manner of treating a civilian is not merely a reflection of that officer’s personality or mood– it is a reflection of how much society itself values that personSomeone treated well feels like part of the groupSomeone treated poorly feels alienated, isolated
14 Procedural Justice, Compliance, and Obedience Due to its social-psychological impact, PJ might also increase compliance and obedience directly (in addition to indirectly via legitimacy)People who feel they are accepted and valued by a group are more motivated to obey the rules and authority figures within itPeople who feel alienated become angry and resentful. They do not care about obeying the rules or authorities of the group that rejected them
15 The Direct and Indirect Effects of PJ LegitimacyCompliance and ObedienceProcedural Justice
16 What is Procedural Justice? Four components to citizens’ perceptions that PJ is present or absent during an encounterCitizen participation (voice) prior to the officer reaching a decisionPerceived neutrality of the officer in her/his decisionDignity and respectTrustworthy motives
17 What is Procedural Justice? Actions officers can take to address each of the four componentsVoiceAsk for information or input.Listen attentively.NeutralityExplain the reason why s/he got involved in the matter.Seek all viewpoints about the matter.Tell the participants that no decision will be rendered until every party has had an opportunity to talk.After making a decision, explain why s/he chose to resolve the issue as s/he didSource: Jonathan-Zamir, Mastrofski, & Moyal (2013). Measuring procedural justice in police-citizen encounters. Justice Quarterly
18 What is Procedural Justice? DignityShow respect consistently throughout the entire encounter. Even intermittent disrespect can undermine the effort.Go beyond “business-like” respect and genuinely convey regard for the civilian and her/his situation.
19 What is Procedural Justice? Trustworthiness: Showing care and concernAsk about civilian’s well-being.Offer comfort or reassurance.Exert control or influence over another person on the civilian’s behalf, or promise to do so.File a report for the citizen, or promise to do so.Act, or promise to act, on behalf of the civilian with a government agency or private organization.Provide or arrange physical assistance, or promise to do so.Officer advice to the citizen for handling the situation or problem.
20 What is Procedural Justice? Not every single element of each of the four domains must be present. Officers should adhere to the domains and specific actions within those domains to the extent possible, adapting them as needed
21 Switching Gears: Police Culture Culture = the attitudinal frameworks and behavioral strategies that police develop as a result of multiple pressures levied upon them by supervisors and others within their department (organizational environment) and by the emotional drains and physical dangers they face on the street (occupational or street environment)Culture is passed down from one “generation” of officers to the nextInformal socialization, FTOs, and other interactions that new officers have with older ones
22 Elements of Police Culture Occupational environment (civilians)SuspiciousnessConstant threat of potential danger; never let your guard downMaintaining the edgeConstantly display coercive power/command presence; control the situationSource: Paoline & Terrill (2014). Police culture: Adapting to the strains of the job. Durham, NC: North Carolina Academic Press.
23 Elements of Police Culture Organizational environment (supervisors)Lay low/CYAStay out of things; more exposure to situations, incidents, and civilians increases the risk of supervisor scrutinyAdopt a crime-fighter orientationCommendations, awards, and promotions are based on crime-related outputs (arrests, citations, crimes solved, response times, etc.), so these are the only worthwhile activities
24 Elements of Police Culture Officer-to-officer environmentSocial isolationFriendship limited to other officers; civilians don’t understandLoyaltyDon’t talk to supervisors about other officers’ behavior; officers have to watch each others’ backsCode of silence
25 Procedural Justice vs. Police Culture Citizen voice–solicit their input and listen attentivelyBe suspicious—civilians can’t be trusted, treat them all as potentially dangerousNeutrality—let all parties talk before making a decision, and explain that decisionMaintain the edge–keep civilians aware of your coercive authorityDignity– treat civilians respectfullyLay low—don’t do anything that could catch supervisors’ attentionTrustworthiness– show care and concern to show them that you have their best interests in mindBe a crime fighter—there are no rewards for making people feel better or delivering them satisfactory service, all that matters are crime-related outputsStick with other cops—civilians don’t understandCode of silence—never provide incriminating statements against another officer
26 Bridging the Gap between PJ and Culture There are differences– some of them big– between the types of behaviors required by the PJ model and the attitudes and behaviors endemic to the traditional police cultureBut there are many reasons to think that– with commitment on the part of police-agency executives, supervisors, and trainers—the elements of PJ can become part of officers’ standard behavioral repertoire
27 Variability in Cultural Attitudes For one thing, there is substantial variability in officer attitudesMost officers subscribe to at least a few of the cultural elementsDanger/suspiciousness and maintaining the edge/coercive authority seem to be fairly commonOfficers do place a premium on protecting their peers, though support for the code of silence is much less today than in the past
28 Variability in Cultural Attitudes But many display attitudes very typical of a community-focused approachSocial isolation not uniform– many officers do like to socialize with non-police officers outside of workMany officers do not think that effective policing requires detachment from the communities they work in
29 What does it all mean?In sum, there is camaraderie among officers. They are loyal to each other, though this loyalty does not necessarily extend to the point of lying for their peersThey are wary of the ever-present potential for violence, but there is no evidence to suggest that they cannot engage in PJ while continuing to be vigilant for signs that a situation is worseningThere is a growing sentiment that the community can be engaged in the anti-crime effort
30 Training Tips: Making Officers aware of the Importance of PJ Many officers intuitively understand that remaining calm and being polite help keep situations from escalatingWhat they might not be aware of is how important every face-to-face contact with a civilian is to the overall effectiveness of a police force and safety to its officersThe officer who is rude or abusive to a civilian might be endangering the next officer who comes into contact with that personAcademy and in-service training, as well as day-to-day conversations, should emphasize that every contact matters
31 Training Tips: Teaching the Four Elements The four elements of procedural justice– and the specific behaviors each element encompasses– can be made part of academy and in- service trainingThese behaviors are tactics designed to accomplish an overarching strategic goal, so teaching them the tactics will give them the tools they need to accomplish that goal
32 Training Tips: Making Dialogue Key Dialogue matters more than the specific mechanics of the encounterTraffic stops, arrests, investigations, warrant execution, problem-oriented policing, conferences, school-based programs, crackdowns, and so onWhat matters is that police employ elements of each of the four domains in their face-to-face encounters with civiliansSource: Mazerolle, Bennett, Davis, Sargeant, & Manning (2013). Legitimacy in policing: A systematic review. Oslo, Norway: The Campbell Collaboration.
33 Training Tips: Making Dialogue Key Example: An Australian police department significantly improved citizen satisfaction by having officers at a roadside sobriety checkpoint read a script specifically designed to tap into each of the four elements.Neutrality: “You were not specifically singled out for this [breath] test.”Trustworthy motives: “Can you please help us by driving safely?”Citizen voice: “Do you have any other questions for me about this [checkpoint] or anything else?”Dignity/respect: “I just want to finish off by thanking you for [select a positive thing that the driver did]”
34 Performance MeasuresFundamental fact: Rewards encourage certain behaviors and discourage others. An activity that is rewarded will be completed more consistently than one that is notTraditional performance measures are incompatible with modern policingTelling officers to try to prevent crimes, but only rewarding them for solving them. Telling them to try to resolve situations creatively, yet measuring numbers of arrestsNeed to modernize the criteria necessary for awards and promotions
35 Measuring PJ Community surveys Periodic random samples of the entire jurisdictionSurveys of randomly selected individuals who have had recent encounters with officersLess ideal: have officers provide surveys at the end of an encounterActive solicitation of community feedback through social mediaEncourage reporting of all types of opinions, not just negative onesMeetings with community leaders who can provide a valid assessment of the general attitude among those they speak forHomeowners’ associations presidents, church leaders active in the community, etc.
36 Recommended ReadingsJonathan-Zamir, Mastrofski, & Moyal (2013). Measuring procedural justice in police-citizen encounters. Justice Quarterly. Forthcoming.Mazerolle, Bennett, Davis, Sargeant, & Manning (2013). Legitimacy in policing: A systematic review. Oslo, Norway: The Campbell Collaboration.Paoline & Terrill (2014). Police culture: Adapting to the strains of the job. Durham, NC: North Carolina Academic Press.For further information, please feel free to contact me: Jacinta M. Gau, Ph.D. University of Central Florida