One Positive Interaction with Police Can Enhance Trust

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A new study from researchers at Rutgers University–Newark, Yale University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology titled "A Field Experiment on Community Policing and Police Legitimacy," shows that positive, non-enforcement contact between uniformed police officers and community members can improve public perceptions of police.
The study, conducted in cooperation with the New Haven Police Department, combined a randomized field experiment with longitudinal survey measurements and found that a single positive, non-enforcement contact with a uniformed patrol officer can substantially improve an individuals’ perception of police legitimacy and their willingness to cooperate with police to solve neighborhood problems.

The effects of this police interaction - an example of what is commonly referred to as “community policing” - were largest among Black residents and those whose initial attitudes toward police were the most negative. The positive effects of the community policing encounter persisted for up to 21 days after residents’ interaction with police.

Click here for a full copy of the study.

Read summary here.

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