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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Center on Police Practices and Community (COPPAC), of the Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research (ISBER), at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations amongst academics from UCSB and other institutions worldwide, law enforcement, and the community to enhance knowledge and theory on Police -- Community issues. Through this work, COPPAC empowers the community, policy makers and law enforcement to develop laws, policies and practices based solidly in research.

  • COPPAC brings members of law enforcement and the community to scholars so that academic research can be more relevant to the needs of law enforcement and the communities it serves.
  • COPPAC shares its expertise and research findings with law enforcement and the community to empower each to develop research based improvements in addressing issues of concern.
  • COPPAC joins together a multidisciplinary group of academics from UCSB and around the globe who share a common interest in issues relating to law enforcement and community.
  • COPPAC introduces police and community representatives into the UCSB classroom to bring course concepts and theories to life and into police training classrooms to make research applicable to real life situations.
  • COPPAC develops courses for the local and campus communities and training for law enforcement on police – community issues.
  • COPPAC facilitates research by collaborating with law enforcement and the community, always maintaining its academic integrity through the independence of its work.

Center on Police Practices and Community

There are 24 publications in this collection, published between 2002 and 2006.
Articles / Chapters (6)

Community Review of Police Conduct: An Intergroup Perspective

Law enforcement continually walks a fine-line between the protection and the violation of individual rights. It derives its power from the community it serves, and it is accountable to that community. To ensure the latter, some cities have implemented community review systems that monitor police conduct. These systems are intended to be impartial evaluators of law enforcement, in particular, complaints against law enforcement. We analyze the various structures and characteristics of community review systems, as well as the empirical research attending them. In doing so, we situate the problems associated with community review systems from a social psychological perspective, arguing that their shortcomings may be remedied through a consideration of intergroup processes which focus on shared identity and the role of power differentiation between police and community. Finally, we suggest improvements and further research.

Communication Accommodation: Law Enforcement and the Public

While there is a burgeoning literature on diverse aspects of intergroup communication and some attention to media depictions of police officers and policing, very little research addresses communicative dimensions of police-civilian encounters. This is important to the extent that while it has been estimated that the vast amount of police training is devoted to physical compliance issues, 98% of actual law enforcement practice revolves around communicating with the public and its safety needs. Thus, the communication between police officers and civilians warrants examination. In this chapter, we overview the separate literatures on attitudes toward the police and communication accommodation theory. The findings of three studies are presented exploring the role of accommodation, alongside socio-demographic and other variables, in predicting attitudes toward police. The three studies encompass three different populations: English-speaking adults, Spanish-speaking adults, and university students. Analyses reveal similar results across the samples. In general, accommodation by officers predicts civilians’ rating of officer performance as well as satisfaction when interacting with the police. These findings suggest that more attention should be directed at developing communication skills in general and accommodative ones in particular.

Patronizing and Policing Elderly People

426 students rated a vignette wherein an older person was patronized (more or less) or not by a police officer. Trait attributions were linearly related to extent of patronization: predictably negative for the patronizers, yet positive for the recipients. Visual appearances of patronizers and patronizees did not influence these patterns.

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Book Reviews (4)

Communicating Police Misconduct: Alleged, Variably Reported, and/or Real?

A review of Regina Lawrence's The Politics of Force: Media and the Consturction of Police Brutality and Jeffrey Ian Ross' Making News of Police Violence: A Comparative Study of Toronto and New York City

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Popular Press (3)

"Research on Policing Will Benefit Society"

The opening of the Center on Police Practices and Community (COPPAC) at the University of California, Santa Barbara ~ Researching Today for a Safer Tomorrow ~

"Survey Gives UCSB, Santa Barbara Police High Marks"

Results of Attitude Towards Police (ATP) surveys regarding Santa Barbara Police Department and UC Santa Barbara Police Department, Chief MacPherson and "the importance of communicating respect and concern for the needs of community members, one person at a time".

Reports / Presentations (4)
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Survey Instruments (7)
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