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Citizen Complaints as Threats to Police Legitimacy: The Role of Officers’ Occupational Attitudes

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Dated: 2015
Date Published
February 2015
1 page

The current study fills an empirical void by analyzing data collected from the Assessing Police Use of Force Policy and Outcomes project to examine the role of patrol officers' global assessments of their occupation, and specific facets of their internal and external work environments, on overall citizen complaints, as well as allegations of officer discourtesy and improper use of force.


Citizen complaints of police misconduct represent formal expressions of procedural injustice and can thereby threaten police legitimacy. Although prior explanations of complaints have focused primarily on officer demographics, police occupational attitudes have been ignored. In filling this gap, the current study used multivariate models in revealing a number of attitudinal effects, The implications of these findings for police practitioners and researchers are considered. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: February 1, 2015