Policing Diversity: Determinants of White, Black, and Hispanic Attitudes toward Police

Policing Diversity: Determinants of White, Black, and Hispanic Attitudes toward Police

Policing Diversity: Determinants of White, Black, and Hispanic Attitudes toward Police

Policing Diversity: Determinants of White, Black, and Hispanic Attitudes toward Police

Synopsis

Lai extends the current knowledge of public attitudes toward the police (ATP) by examining two distinct dimensions: general and specific attitudes. The significant findings indicated that African Americans consistently reported unfavorable ATP across two dimensions, but the Hispanics did not have any significant influence. While ratings of police work were highly related to public ATP, victimization and violent crime incidents decreased the levels of public rating among all respondents. Meanwhile, coproduction increased the levels of public ATP. Finally, both citizen-initiated and police-initiated interactions had significant influence on public ATP but varied among racial/ethnical groups. Policy implications and limitations were addressed.

Excerpt

In their 1963 classical work, The Civic Culture, Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba ─ two noted political scientists ─ observed that there was a close relationship between a country’s level of democracy and its political culture. In this context, democracy is understood as the rights of people to participate meaningfully in the political process, including the right to vote and compete for public office and for elected representatives to influence public policies. The process of democratization is also a never-ending institutional struggle toward a more perfect realization of the three key democratic ideals: (a) liberty; (b) equality; and, (c) fraternity (Sung, 2006). Almond and Verba referred to the concept of political culture to describe one’s overall political orientation, including public attitudes toward the political system and toward government agencies (e.g., courts and police). The level of democracy attained is measured by the extent to which the public participates actively in politics, specifically with respect to governmental affairs and public policy formation. In a democratic society, government offers the ordinary person ample opportunity to participate in the political decision-making process as a genuine influential. Almond and Verba (1963) further pointed out:

Theorists of democracy from Aristotle to Bryce have stressed that democracies are maintained by active citizen participation in civic affairs, by a high level of information about public affairs, and by a widespread sense of civic responsibility. These doctrines tell us what a democratic citizen ought to be like if he is to behave according to the requirements of the system. (p.9) . . .

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