The Benefits of Procedural Justice in Contemporary Policing

Boyd, Jeff
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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)
Police agencies around the country, big and small, are all facing a similar set of dire circumstances. Budgets cuts and staffing shortages are making it harder to effectively and efficiently deliver police services. To further complicate matters, law enforcement, due to a rash of recent high-profile use of force incidents, is facing a mounting public perception crisis. Public perception, or how favorably people view the police, is an important indicator of one of the most valuable crime prevention tools law enforcement has at its disposal, legitimacy. As it relates to law enforcement, legitimacy refers to belief that police officers respect their authority and will use it in a fair and responsible manner. As a result, people will defer to the authority of a police officer believing they will be treated fairly during the encounter. In response to all these issues, law enforcement agencies need evidence- based methods that maximize their reduced resources, while also working to improve legitimacy. Procedural justice is one such strategy that solves both problems. Procedural justice refers to the belief that how police treat citizens during an encounter has a significant impact on how citizens view the police, their willingness to obey the law, and officer safety. Law enforcement agencies should employ research tested, procedurally just policing practices to increase public confidence and improve officer safety.
Police-community relations, Police ethics