Why Does the Public Cooperate with Law Enforcement? The Influence of the Purposes and Targets of Policing

Author: 
Aziz Huq
with: 
Tom Tyler and Stephen Schulhofer

This study addresses the extension of the “procedural justice” model for understanding public cooperation with law enforcement to new policing contexts and new minority populations. The study draws on four recent surveys of public reactions to policing against crime or against terrorism across different populations to examine whether the changing purpose of policing, or changes in the communities targeted for heightened policing have an effect on how cooperative behaviors are elicited.

This paper presents evidence that procedural justice mechanisms are robust across a variety of contexts and populations in the United States. Three issues in particular are addressed. First, whether the procedural justice model applies across policing functions and policed populations. Second, whether the perception that another group is the target of disproportionate policing efforts has any effect on the cooperation behavior of a non-targeted population. And third, whether people attend to different aspects of policing behavior if their community is targeted for heightened policing attention.