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Public Participation in Policing: The Impact of Citizen Oversight on the Incidence of Lethal Force Over Time in the Largest U.S. Cities

NCJ Number
Justice Research and Policy Volume: 11 Dated: 2009 Pages: 105-140
Holona LeAnne Ochs
Date Published
36 pages
This study highlights the need for future investigations that focus on the few proactive approaches to citizen police review in which the patterns and trends in policies, supervision, and training may offer more lucrative opportunities for participation that generates innovative problem-solving.
Does public participation through citizen review boards result in more responsible policing or does public oversight in this form amount to political "interference" resisted by the police? How do the various models of reactive external review impact police use of lethal force in a democratic society? This article argues that citizen participation has the potential to serve the public and the police well when adequately designed and that reactive approaches to external review of the police may not have the intended effect on the incidence of lethal force over time. Specifically, the random effects negative binomial regression reveals that the process audit model of citizen review increases the incidence of lethal force. Future study is needed to determine the requisite circumstances for fostering mutually beneficial monitoring. The setting for this study on the long-run monitoring role of citizen review is a sample of 30 of the largest U.S. cities from 1994 to 2004. (Published Abstract)