The Normative Order of Reporting Police Misconduct: Examining the Roles of Offense Seriousness, Legitimacy, and Fairness

Michael Long, Jennifer Cross, Tara Shelley, Sanja Kutnjak Ivkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using anonymous surveys of 3,235 officers in 30 police agencies, we tested hypotheses derived from prior policing research, legitimacy theory, and disciplinary fairness literature on the intentions of police officers to report acts of misconduct perpetrated by fellow officers. We examined features of the normative order involving peer reporting of police misconduct at both the individual agency and aggregate police subculture levels. Consistent with previous research, the perceived seriousness of the offense and legitimacy (endorsement) are consistently strong predictors of officers’ intentions to report misconduct. We also find that perceived fairness of discipline provides significant results, but the direction of the relationship depends on the perceived seriousness of the offense. It is clear that the majority of police officers participate in a shared normative culture of when to and when not to report misconduct. Finally, we note the importance of studying the reporting of police misconduct using a social psychological lens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-267
JournalSocial Psychology Quarterly
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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