SOC354:Police Subculture SOC 354
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandra Long on Sunday March 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC 354 at Colorado State University taught by Bradley Hurst in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Law Enforcement and Society in Sociology at Colorado State University.
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Date Created: 03/27/16
POLICE SUBCULTURE ▯ ▯ What constitutes a “subculture?” ▯ There is a unique police subculture common to all police As well as a unique organizational subculture Shared Experience creates subculture ▯Shared experiences EXPLAIN some things; they do not EXCUSE all behaviors Altruism: desire to help other people ▯ Early Research Westley -1950 Emphasis on secrecy, solidarity, violence, strong sense of solidarity. View the public as enemy, which justifies lying, code of silence to protect fellow officers. These attitudes the product of the very nature of the work…they work closely together and face the same uncertainties and dangers. ▯ Skolnick the work-danger and authority.lity, shaped by the two dominant aspects of Danger-because it’s potential is ever-present, cops become routinely suspicious of all people. Authority-use of force, the defining feature of police work, is symbolized by the uniform, badge and gun. ▯ These early views present a very negative picture. Later research softens the picture a bit. ▯ “…most of it is out of date and fails to take into account significant recent changes in police employment.” ▯ More recent research finds police officers to be rather average people, not usually authority-oriented, but rather more motivated by altruism. ▯ Women Join the Subculture Common by mid-90’s. Much earlier elsewhere. ▯1 “Traditionalists” have difficulty accepting women. They focus on physical strength and women’s “role” in society. There is less of this with passage of time. “Moderns” understand the job rarely calls for superior physical strength, and accept women more readily. ▯ Approx. 14% of officers are women, has leveled off. The number in command positions is still small. Female officers are less likely to engage in improper conduct. ▯ Race, Sexual preference, Education & Performance “There is no strong evidence…thatAfricanAmerican or Hispanic officers perform differently from white officers.” Ditto college-educated officers v. non-college educated officers. Ditto, almost certainly, gay and lesbian officers. ▯ Women just as likely to use physical force as men. Use the same kinds of force that males do. No evidence that minority officers preform differently than white officers. The same is true for college level officers and under college level officers. Qualities were not necessarily only present in college level people. Is this surprising to you? Assuming this is true, WHY? ▯ 1. Vast majority of police officers are there for the right reasons. Want to conform to laws and policies. Do not seek to do bad things. 2. Characteristics of the job influence behavior more than personal characteristics (sexual orientation, race, etc.) Comes from powerful, shared experiences! 3. Training works. Training changes behavior. ▯ ▯ ▯ David Carter found that in DC, 66% of white officers thought the promotional process favored minority officers, while 49% of minority officers thought the very same system favored whites. ▯ **“Cohort Effects”** Generational differences Ex. jargon ▯2 ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ Stress & the Culture results in some common behaviors.lement of the work. It creates stress and Run towards things that everyone would typically run away from This ever-present threat potential affects officers’attitudes towards the public. Everyone is a potential threat. They just don’t know what few people will actually be threatening to them, so they treat everyone carefully. Citizen disrespect and challenges are a significant factor. Stereotypes are not typically accurate. So is dealing with extreme human suffering. Leads to self-isolation. 2 reasons that self-isolation happens 1. Don’t like dealing with hostility when being stereotyped. 2. Alot of people in the community are uncomfortable being around Extreme suffering. Good and bad aspects to most subcultures. ▯ **Think and behave the way that they do because of their EXPERIENCES** Community-OrientedApproaches and the Culture These approaches could positively affect the culture by rendering cops less isolated from their customers, giving them greater autonomy, and giving the ability to see positive results. ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯ ▯3
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