“Dickheads” and “Cool Cops”: The Impact of Officers’ Perceived Cultural and Contextual Competence on Black Men's Appraisals of Police

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Public support for police reached a record low during the summer of 2020. To ameliorate police-community relations, research has sought to identify how community attitudes towards police are built. Studies often find that Black individuals are less likely to trust and be satisfied with police than their non-Black counterparts largely due to negative direct and vicarious experiences. This finding has led to an empirical focus on how officers engage, with limited research on why officers engage in certain ways. Without analyzing motives for conduct, the critical gaze remains blind to broader social and cultural issues that may inform and motivate some officers’ harmful and discriminatory actions. The current study highlights how Black men implicate segregation, media-induced miseducation, cultural and contextual incompetence, and hostile police culture for mutual distrust and officers’ misconduct. These findings promote harm reductionist policy to enhance officers’ cultural and contextual competence and encourage researchers and practitioners to consider an abolitionist agenda that a) focuses on the implementation and evaluation of novel and existing trauma-informed, community-based means of addressing harm in order to ultimately dissolve police power, and b) promotes cultural shifts by increasing diverse learning opportunities and critical curriculum in educational spaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • abolition
  • cultural competence
  • police-community relations
  • procedural justice
  • qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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