Putting HEART Into Policing: A 21st Century Model for Effective and Fair Policing

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Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management






Purpose: Police-community relations are currently at a cross-road. Incidents over the past several years have severely damaged trust and faith in the police – particularly in minority communities. Society is faced with the choice of accepting an “us-vs-them” mentality with police on one side and citizens on the other or banding together to advance police-community coproduction in reducing violence. The purpose of this paper is to advance the latter by introducing a model for police to follow in police-citizen interactions in an effort to increase perceptions of fairness and legitimacy of police officers and police departments.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Using data from the National Police Research Platform’s Police-Community Interaction Survey, correlates of perceptions of fairness in police-community encounters as well as variation in agency-level fairness across 53 jurisdictions are examined.

Findings: Results show that application of the H.E.A.R.T. medical model is the most significant and substantial correlate of perceived fairness of police-community interactions and accounts for agency-level differences in perceived fairness.

Originality/Value: The results highlight important ways that police can improve their image in the community and with minority communities in particular.