The black inside the blue : black law enforcement officers' perceptions of racial profiling in Missouri
Nationally, law enforcement agencies are under tremendous scrutiny in reference to racial profiling. A gap exists in knowledge of Black law enforcement officers? in Missouri perceptions of racial profiling. Missouri has experienced a disproportionate number of traffic stops of Black motorists for the last 11 years. A review of the literature revealed that police officers have an identity formed through practices of the organization. This notion was further explained by examining social-identity theory and the key concepts of Black law enforcement officers, racial profiling, and occupational socialization. This qualitative bounded case study used semistructured interviews with rural Black law enforcement officers from three counties in Missouri, conducted three focus groups with community members, and performed an artifact review of law enforcement agencies? policies. The following themes emerged: racial profiling is not tolerated, law enforcement officers are held accountable for their behavior, Black law enforcement officers joined agencies because they wanted the ability to help others, Blacks are racially profiled more than others, racial profiling had been experienced, confidence existed in law enforcement agencies to not racially profile, and Blacks were perceived as bad people. These results allow law enforcement agencies and law enforcement training academies to address selection and training needs of officers. The results also aid policymakers to expand the collection of data around profiling as well as aid community leaders in understanding the dynamics of racial profiling.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License