"I realized that cops are just regular people" : changing youth attitudes toward the police through community policing programming.
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 16:32 authored by Elisabeth J. Leroux
Existing literature examining youth-police relations has consistently found that willingness to engage with the police is directly influenced by youth attitudes toward the police. Research findings suggest that increasing positive attitudes toward the police among adolescent populations will result in a subsequent increase in behaviours supportive of the police and law enforcement. The current study was a mixed-method evaluation (including survey data and qualitative interviews) of a community policing pilot program designed to increase positive contact between at-risk youth and police officers. The program was effective in positively changing youth attitudes toward the police. Interview results provide evidence of a direct mechanism for increasing trust and cooperation with the police. Survey results indicate that positive contact with the police can shift general attitudes toward the police and reduce perceptions of police discrimination. Further, survey findings support the program as a remedial intervention for youth with previous negative police contact.