Measuring Black men's police-based discrimination experiences: Development and validation of the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale.
ABSTRACT: Although social science research has examined police and law enforcement-perpetrated discrimination against Black men using policing statistics and implicit bias studies, there is little quantitative evidence detailing this phenomenon from the perspective of Black men. Consequently, there is a dearth of research detailing how Black men's perspectives on police and law enforcement-related stress predict negative physiological and psychological health outcomes. This study addresses these gaps with the qualitative development and quantitative test of the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale.In Study 1, we used thematic analysis on transcripts of individual qualitative interviews with 90 Black men to assess key themes and concepts and develop quantitative items. In Study 2, we used 2 focus groups comprised of 5 Black men each (n = 10), intensive cognitive interviewing with a separate sample of Black men (n = 15), and piloting with another sample of Black men (n = 13) to assess the ecological validity of the quantitative items. For Study 3, we analyzed data from a sample of 633 Black men between the ages of 18 and 65 to test the factor structure of the PLE, as we all as its concurrent validity and convergent/discriminant validity.Qualitative analyses and confirmatory factor analyses suggested that a 5-item, 1-factor measure appropriately represented respondents' experiences of police/law enforcement discrimination. As hypothesized, the PLE was positively associated with measures of racial discrimination and depressive symptoms.Preliminary evidence suggests that the PLE is a reliable and valid measure of Black men's experiences of discrimination with police/law enforcement. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:Proactive policing, the strategic targeting of people or places to prevent crimes, is a well-studied tactic that is ubiquitous in modern law enforcement. A 2017 National Academies of Sciences report reviewed existing literature, entrenched in deterrence theory, and found evidence that proactive policing strategies can reduce crime. The existing literature, however, does not explore what the short and long-term effects of police contact are for young people who are subjected to high rates of contact with law enforcement as a result of proactive policing. Using four waves of longitudinal survey data from a sample of predominantly black and Latino boys in ninth and tenth grades, we find that adolescent boys who are stopped by police report more frequent engagement in delinquent behavior 6, 12, and 18 months later, independent of prior delinquency, a finding that is consistent with labeling and life course theories. We also find that psychological distress partially mediates this relationship, consistent with the often stated, but rarely measured, mechanism for adolescent criminality hypothesized by general strain theory. These findings advance the scientific understanding of crime and adolescent development while also raising policy questions about the efficacy of routine police stops of black and Latino youth. Police stops predict decrements in adolescents' psychological well-being and may unintentionally increase their engagement in criminal behavior.
Project description:The increasingly visible presence of heavily armed police units in American communities has stoked widespread concern over the militarization of local law enforcement. Advocates claim militarized policing protects officers and deters violent crime, while critics allege these tactics are targeted at racial minorities and erode trust in law enforcement. Using a rare geocoded census of SWAT team deployments from Maryland, I show that militarized police units are more often deployed in communities with large shares of African American residents, even after controlling for local crime rates. Further, using nationwide panel data on local police militarization, I demonstrate that militarized policing fails to enhance officer safety or reduce local crime. Finally, using survey experiments-one of which includes a large oversample of African American respondents-I show that seeing militarized police in news reports may diminish police reputation in the mass public. In the case of militarized policing, the results suggest that the often-cited trade-off between public safety and civil liberties is a false choice.
Project description:To assess the association between risk of sudden cardiac death and stressful law enforcement duties compared with routine/non-emergency duties.Case distribution study (case series with survey information on referent exposures).United States law enforcement.Summaries of deaths of over 4500 US police officers provided by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and the Officer Down Memorial Page from 1984 to 2010.Observed and expected sudden cardiac death counts and relative risks for sudden cardiac death events during specific strenuous duties versus routine/non-emergency activities. Independent estimates of the proportion of time that police officers spend across various law enforcement duties obtained from surveys of police chiefs and front line officers. Impact of varying exposure assessments, covariates, and missing cases in sensitivity and stability analyses.441 sudden cardiac deaths were observed during the study period. Sudden cardiac death was associated with restraints/altercations (25%, n=108), physical training (20%, n=88), pursuits of suspects (12%, n=53), medical/rescue operations (8%, n=34), routine duties (23%, n=101), and other activities (11%, n=57). Compared with routine/non-emergency activities, the risk of sudden cardiac death was 34-69 times higher during restraints/altercations, 32-51 times higher during pursuits, 20-23 times higher during physical training, and 6-9 times higher during medical/rescue operations. Results were robust to all sensitivity and stability analyses.Stressful law enforcement duties are associated with a risk of sudden cardiac death that is markedly higher than the risk during routine/non-emergency duties. Restraints/altercations and pursuits are associated with the greatest risk. Our findings have public health implications and suggest that primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention efforts are needed among law enforcement officers.
Project description:This research builds on three decades of effort to produce national estimates of the amount and rate of force used by law enforcement officers in the United States. Prior efforts to produce national estimates have suffered from poor and inconsistent measurements of force, small and unrepresentative samples, low survey and/or item response rates, and disparate reporting of rates of force. The present study employs data from a nationally representative survey of state and local law enforcement agencies that has a high survey response rate as well as a relatively high rate of reporting uses of force. Using data on arrests for violent offenses and the number of sworn officers to impute missing data on uses of force, we estimate a total of 337,590 use of physical force incidents among State and local law enforcement agencies during 2012 with a 95 percent confidence interval of +/- 10,470 incidents or +/- 3.1 percent. This article reports the extent to which the number and rate of force incidents vary by the type and size of law enforcement agencies. Our findings demonstrate the willingness of a large proportion of law enforcement agencies to voluntarily report the amount of force used by their officers and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) program to produce nationally representative information about police behavior.
Project description:We examine whether retaliatory violence exists between law enforcement and citizens while controlling for any social media contagion effect related to prior fatal encounters. Analyzed using a trivariate dynamic structural vector-autoregressive model, daily time-series data over a 21-month period captured the frequencies of police killed in the line of duty, police deadly use of force incidents, and social media coverage. The results support a significant retaliatory violence effect against minorities by police, yet there is no evidence of retaliatory violence against law enforcement officers by minorities. Also, social media coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement increases the risk of fatal victimization to both law enforcement officers and minorities. Possible explanations for these results are based in rational choice and terror management theories.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Cell phone use while driving laws do not appear to be heavily enforced in the USA. This study seeks to gain law enforcements' perspective and learn potential barriers to cell phone law enforcement. METHODS:Qualitative interviews (ie, focus groups) were conducted with officers (N=19) from five West Virginia law enforcement agencies. The officers who participated were >18 years of age, sworn into their departments and employed in law enforcement for >1 year. Focus group sessions lasted 45-60 min and followed a standardised, pilot-tested script. These sessions were audio recorded and transcribed. Qualitative content analysis was employed among three researchers to determine themes surrounding enforcement. RESULTS:Four themes emerged including current culture, the legal system, the nature of police work and issues with prevention. Specific barriers to enforcement included cultural norms, lack of perceived support from courts/judges, different laws between states, the need for a general distracted driving law, unclear legislation, officers' habits and perceived risk, wanting to maintain a positive relationship with the public, not being able to see the driver (impediments of vehicle design, time of day), phones having multiple functions and not knowing what drivers are actually doing, risk of crashing during traffic stops and lack of resources. Prevention activities were debated, and most felt that technological advancements implemented by cell phone manufacturers may deter use. CONCLUSIONS:Numerous barriers to cell phone law enforcement exist. Legislation could be amended to facilitate enforcement. Prevention opportunities exist to deter cell phone use while driving.
Project description:Non-consensual dissemination of intimate images (NCII) is a major concern in many countries. The increase in the number of NCII cases and awareness of its adverse effects on victims has raised public awareness, with many states enacting legal and non-legal measures to combat this new type of violence. Yet, despite recent legislation, there is a reason to suspect that the majority of NCII cases remain unreported. Thus, research is needed on law enforcement perceptions of victims and identification of victim-blaming attitudes and factors that might affect legal decision-making. The present study addressed this issue by focusing on Israeli police officer perceptions of NCII victims and offenders: 145 police officers and 160 students, who served as a control group, were presented with a scenario depicting an NCII offense in which the stolen intimate material was either self-generated by the victim (selfies) or stealth-taken by the victim’s ex-boyfriend. In both cases, the stolen images were disseminated by the ex-boyfriend without the victim’s permission. The findings indicated victim-blaming attitudes toward NCII victims within law enforcement as well as an effect of the source of stolen images. Although officers perceived NCII as criminal and the offender as highly culpable and punishable, they engaged in victim-blaming. This was especially the case for the self-taken scenario, which elicited negative feelings and less empathy toward the victim. The relevance of emotions in legal contexts is emphasized in light of their contribution to the participants’ punitive judgments. Victim-blaming in NCII offenses and its implications are discussed, and suggestions are made for how to reduce negative and victim-blaming attitudes among law enforcement.
Project description:Racial disparities in policing and recent high-profile incidents resulting in the deaths of Black men have ignited a national debate on policing policies. Given evidence that both police officers and Black men may be associated with threat, we examined the impact of perceived threat on support for reformed policing policies. Across three studies we found correlational evidence that perceiving police officers as threatening predicts increased support for reformed policing practices (e.g., limiting the use of lethal force and matching police force demographics to those of the community). In contrast, perceiving Black men as threatening predicted reduced support for policing policy reform. Perceived threat also predicted willingness to sign a petition calling for police reform. Experimental evidence indicated that priming participants to associate Black men with threat could also reduce support for policing policy reform, and this effect was moderated by internal motivation to respond without prejudice. Priming participants to associate police officers with threat did not increase support for policing policy reform. Results indicate that resistance to policing policy reform is associated with perceiving Black men as threatening. Moreover, findings suggest that publicizing racially charged police encounters, which may conjure associations between Black men and threat, could reduce support for policing policy reform.
Project description:Law and order enforcement tasks may expose special force police officers to significant psychosocial risk factors. The aim of this work is to investigate the relationship between job stress and the presence of mental health symptoms while controlling sociodemographical, occupational and personality variables in special force police officers.At different time points, 292 of 294 members of the 'VI Reparto Mobile', a special police force engaged exclusively in the enforcement of law and order, responded to our invitation to complete questionnaires for the assessment of personality traits, work-related stress (using the Demand-Control-Support (DCS) and the Effort-Reward-Imbalance (ERI) models) and mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and burnout.Regression analyses showed that lower levels of support and reward and higher levels of effort and overcommitment were associated with higher levels of mental health symptoms. Psychological screening revealed 21 (7.3%) likely cases of mild depression (Beck Depression Inventory, BDI?10). Officers who had experienced a discrepancy between work effort and rewards showed a marked increase in the risk of depression (OR 7.89, 95% CI 2.32 to 26.82) when compared with their counterparts who did not perceive themselves to be in a condition of distress.The findings of this study suggest that work-related stress may play a role in the development of mental health problems in police officers. The prevalence of mental health symptoms in the cohort investigated here was low, but not negligible in the case of depression. Since special forces police officers have to perform sensitive tasks for which a healthy psychological functioning is needed, the results of this study suggest that steps should be taken to prevent distress and improve the mental well-being of these workers.
Project description:Police use of force is a controversial issue, but the broader consequences and spillover effects are not well understood. This study examines the impact of in utero exposure to police killings of unarmed blacks in the residential environment on black infants’ health. Using a preregistered, quasi-experimental design and data from 3.9 million birth records in California from 2007 to 2016, the findings show that police killings of unarmed blacks substantially decrease the birth weight and gestational age of black infants residing nearby. There is no discernible effect on white and Hispanic infants or for police killings of armed blacks and other race victims, suggesting that the effect reflects stress and anxiety related to perceived injustice and discrimination. Police violence thus has spillover effects on the health of newborn infants that contribute to enduring black-white disparities in infant health and the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage at the earliest stages of life.