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Rethinking the Study of Juveniles' Attitudes Toward the Police

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Studies Volume: 25 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2012 Pages: 279-300
Adam M. Watkins; Michael O. Maume
Date Published
September 2012
22 pages
This study examined research on juveniles' attitudes toward the police.
Research on juveniles' attitudes toward the police has been instrumental in finding that youths generally hold less favorable opinions of the police than do adults. However, a concern is that often the exact identity of 'the police' is never made explicitly known to juveniles. The authors argue in this paper that presuming a global definition of the police is problematic because of the increased use of both school resource officers and private security personnel in recent decades. The implication is that drawing firm conclusions or generalizations about juveniles' attitudes toward the police is difficult, if not impossible, if researchers do not explicitly define what they mean by the police (e.g. patrol or beat officers on the street). Until researchers precisely identify the source of juvenile respondents' attitudes toward the police, it will remain difficult to draw strong inferences from research on the topic. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.