Can Youths' Perceptions of the Police Be Improved? Results of a School-Based Field Evaluation in Three Jurisdictions

Adam D. Fine, Kathleen E. Padilla, Julie Tapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The way police officers interact with individuals fundamentally impacts the public's perceptions of law enforcement. Such perceptions are, in turn, linked to a variety of key outcomes, including crime commission, crime reporting, and the willingness to be a witness. Considering that the way children perceive the police may set the tone for how they view and interact with law enforcement during adolescence and into adulthood, identifying whether children's perceptions of the police can be changed is essential. The present study examined whether a positive youth development program that enables police officers to work collaboratively with children on community service projects might improve children's perceptions of police. The results of analyses, which used pre- and postevaluation data on a sample of predominantly Hispanic/Latinx or Black/African American 5th and 6th graders located in 3 jurisdictions in the United States, suggested that enabling law enforcement officers to work collaboratively with children can improve children's perceptions of police.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Interventions
  • Legitimacy
  • Perceptions
  • Police
  • Procedural justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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