Police and Citizen Perceptions of Police Power

Author: Robertiello, Gina
Year:2004
Pages:407
ISBN:0-7734-6256-2
978-0-7734-6256-4
Price:259.95
This work explores the perceptions of police power by citizens and by the police officers themselves. This work is based on an extensive survey by the author. It adds to the much needed body of knowledge on the police and the public. In addition, there are recommendations on how to improve current relations. This book will be of great interest to those involved in criminology and law.

Reviews

“Perhaps no area of public service is more emotionally scrutinized than that of the American police and the police service public. A generation of scholars has cautioned us on the complexities and perils of understanding police work in a democratic society. It is now approximately thirty years since American police executives took it upon themselves to have a conversation about what exactly works in police efforts and where exactly does the line between crime fighting and order maintenance intersect. While there are certain sorts of police efforts that engage the public in recognizable and favorable ways, there are other police strategies that we have witnessed which both alienate and make a police service public suspicious. This work is a research effort into the attitudes and opinions held by both police and their service public in one major northeastern American city. Using a series of survey research techniques, Professor Gina Robertiello provides a set of snapshots about what a typical large American citizenry feels about its police encounters as well as the feelings of the police about their work in an urban American public setting. Professor Robertiello takes great pains to outline and catalogue what are the obvious variations and, in some cases, the logic for why citizens and police feel and report the way they do … This book offers what we might come to think of as a second generation of ideas or snapshots of understandings about how police and citizens view each other today in a large American city. For certain, Professor Robertiello’s work provides important clues for more recent interpretation of the Constitution, as well as what citizens expect given their sources of information which include an ever expanding media into everyday American lives. This study provides an interesting mix of technical skill and social science interests that set the ground work for examining and, perhaps reconsidering, what happens when police and citizens encounter each other.” – (from the Foreword) Dr. Joseph Palenski, Seton Hall University

“This work is a welcomed addition to the literature on police-citizen relations in the United States. Using a multi-variant survey on police-citizen interactions in the urban environment of New Jersey, Professor Robertiello brings into focus the difficulties involved in police-citizen encounters where the application of police discretion and power is often cognitively and behaviorally misunderstood within larger community understandings. Professor Robertiello’s research is both theoretically and practically valuable in its ramifications for police-community relations. It presents challenges for developing effective models for community-based police training and provides valuable insights for public education within urban settings … This volume provides an excellent presentation of the complex nature of this subject and its relevance for American society.” – Dr. Harold Launer, Seton Hall University

“Dr. Robertiello has conducted and produced a very important study of police and citizen attitudes in Newark, New Jersey. This comprehensive research study provides a balanced integration of theory and practice with significant implications for community policing. I highly recommend this essential book to all novice and experienced police researchers, especially those planning a dissertation on police and citizen attitudes and encounters. It should also be an essential reference in all college and university criminal Justice libraries.” – Professor Albert R. Roberts, Rutgers University

Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Purpose
Implications
Chapter I. Police-Citizen Interaction:
A. Constitutionally Permissible Behavior
B. Police Training
C. Law and Training versus Reality
Chapter II. Literature Review:
A. Perceptions of Citizens
B. Influences of the Media
C. Factors Expected to Influence Police Behavior
Chapter III. Theory and Hypotheses
Chapter IV. Methodology
A. Site
B. History of Newark Police Department
C. Newark Statistics
D. Research Design
E. Scenario/Vignette Application
F. Pretest
G. Survey Administration
Chapter V. Analysis Summary
A. Section I-Police Officer Responses
B. Summary of Within Group Differences
C. Section I-Citizen Responses
D. Summary of Within Group Differences
E. Section I-Police versus Citizen Responses
F. Summary of Between Group Differences
G. Section II-Citizen Responses
H. Section III-Citizen Responses
Chapter VI. Conclusions
Chapter VII. Appendices
References
Index
List of Illustrations (Figures, Tables)