Person-based proactivity and community relations: examining police perspectives in troubled times

Vaughn J. Crichlow, Ross Deuchar, Seth Wyatt Fallik

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Abstract

Deadly encounters between police and Black men have led to public outrage and increasing scrutiny of law enforcement. In response, some law enforcement leaders have called for more proactive strategies in high-crime areas. While many have criticized oppressive examples of proactivity, such as stop-question-and-frisk, others have suggested that proactive approaches could be more effective if tailored to the needs of racial and ethnic minority residents. In this qualitative study, we explore these issues using data collected from interviews and participant observation with police officers at a Southern Police Department located near several low-income ethnic minority neighborhoods. The aim of this study is to determine how police officers interpret person-based proactivity (Such as stop-question-and-frisk), along with other self-initiated forms of person-based proactive approaches in times of increasing public scrutiny due to reported incidents of police violence. Participants expressed frustration regarding negative public sentiment, as well as the seeming futility of doing “good police work.” Many believed that the positive achievements of police were ignored by mass media. Participants were also concerned that negative publicity had discouraged officers from potentially effective forms of self-initiated proactivity. The implications for proactive policing and community-informed strategies in troubled times are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • proactive policing
  • community policing
  • procedural justice
  • police violence
  • stop and frisk

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