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Legitimacy and policing: The benefits of self-regulation


February 24, 2012 1:30pm - 3:00pm

Room 280A

The policies and practices of the police are typically evaluated against two criteria: whether they are effective in fighting crime and whether they are lawful. I argue that we should be equally concerned about whether police actions are experienced as fair by the people who deal with the police. Building upon that argument I suggest a new strategy for policing based upon the goal of creating and maintaining police legitimacy by emphasizing the use of fair procedures when exercising police authority. The virtue of this approach is that it encourages public willingness to defer to police authority and, more broadly, cooperate with police effects to manage crime and maintain social order.

Professor Tom Tyler, Yale Law School: Tom Tyler is a Professor of Law & Psychology at Yale Law School. He was recently honored by the International Society for Justice Research (ISJR) with its 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award. Professor Tyler is also a past recipient of the Kalvin Prize for “paradigm shifting scholarship in the study of law and society” awarded by the Law and Society Association (2000). His research examines the role of judgments about the justice or injustice of group procedures in shaping legitimacy, compliance, and cooperation.