Police Culture and Coercion

William Terrill, Northeastern University
Eugene A. Paoline III, University of Central Florida
Peter K. Manning, Michigan State University

According to the conventional wisdom, the police culture consists of a set of values, attitudes, and norms that are widely shared among officers, who find in the culture a way to cope with the strains of their working environment. Recent evidence suggests that some attitudes are shared across groups of officers, while others are more fragmented across groups. Using survey and observational data collected in two cities, this paper examines the relationship between attitudinal dispositions and behavior. More specifically, the extent to which there is concordance and discordance between officer attitudes (e.g., attitudes toward citizens, supervisors, legal restrictions, role, tactics) and behavior is investigated within the context of police coercion.

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Updated 05/20/2006