General and Specific Attitudes Toward the Police: Measuring Blacks' Perceptions to Determine Biased Police Practices
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The relationship between general attitudes and specific attitudes of blacks toward police in a major metropolitan area was examined. Researchers used data from a citizen survey to evaluate police practices and measure perceptions of police bias. The sample in this pilot study consisted of 108 blacks living in a predominantly black, large metropolitan area. Responses to survey items measuring general attitudes and specific attitudes toward police showed a strong positive relationship. Responses from citizens who reported previous unfair treatment from police differed significantly from responses from citizens who reported no prior unfair treatment from police in their perceptions of local police. Findings support previous studies (Brandl, Frank, Worden, & Bynum, 1994; Davis, 1990; Priest & Carter, 1999; Scaglion & Condon, 1980b): Blacks that had a previous negative police contact were more likely to report negative attitudes toward police in general. Blacks who perceived police practices as biased were also more likely to evaluate negatively police in their neighborhood.
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