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Legitimacy and Procedural Justice: The New Orleans Case Study

NCJ Number
Craig Fischer
Date Published
March 2014
46 pages
This report summarizes lessons learned about legitimacy and procedural justice from the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) case study.
Findings show that the NOPD Superintendent's work in New Orleans, as well as his prior work in policing going back decades, demonstrates that long before legitimacy and procedural justice became terms of art in policing, some chiefs were striving to bring to their departments many qualities that contribute to legitimacy and procedural justice. These qualities include: transparency in which members of the public cannot make informed judgments about their local police unless the police provide information about what they are doing; accountability since residents of a community will not trust their police if the police seem distant, uncaring, uninformed, or otherwise removed from the daily concerns of the residents; commitment to achieving public confidence in that police initiatives are based on hard facts, and data driven policing; honesty and integrity in the force which demands strict policies against any type of lying by officers, and strong systems for investigating corruption; and "internal" legitimacy where police chiefs who strive to treat officers fairly, rewarding hard work and initiative, and giving officers opportunities to advance in their careers will promote external legitimacy as well.