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Minority Officers Compared to White Officers: Theoretical Reappraisal, Recent Literature, and Future Research (From Public Policing in the 21st Century: Issues and Dilemmas in the U.S. and Canada, P 217-241, 2005, John F. Hodgson and Catherine Orban, eds. -- See NCJ-209717)

NCJ Number
Ivan Y. Sun
Date Published
25 pages
In examining the effect of officers’ race on their attitudes and behavior, this chapter reviews quantitative studies of police attitudes and behavior published after 1990 in which officer race was used as an independent or control variable.
The relationship between race and policing is arguably one of the most critical issues in American criminal justice with minorities, especially with African-Americans having been consistently overrepresented in the criminal justice system. However, numerous studies have been conducted since the 1960's to examine the influence of race on policing with a relatively small body focusing on the effect of officers’ race on their attitudes and behavior. This chapter examines the effects of citizens’ and officers’ race on police arrest decisions. It begins by reviewing the literature of the past decade on police arrests and is organized along several theoretical frameworks commonly utilized in previous research and highlights data collected from two urban police departments. An assessment is conducted on the effects on arrests of citizen race, officer race, and officer race paired with citizen race. Consistent with findings from a small number of studies conducted before 1990, recent literature shows that minority officers do display patterns of attitudes that distinguish them from their White counterparts. Implications for police and future research are presented and discussed. Discussion questions and references