Officer and suspect demeanor: A qualitative analysis of change

Roger G. Dunham, Geoffrey P. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explores policeĝ€"citizen encounters and the reaction of each actor to the demeanor of the other throughout the interaction. Policeĝ€"citizen interactions can be understood as a sequence of events, often changing rapidly and making transitions from being trivial to serious exchanges. The sequence of actions and reactions is designed to support the expectations of both actors. Although we understand that these interactions are guided or driven by the actor's needs and abilities to influence, and even coerce, each other, we are not clear on the precise definition or role of the actors' demeanor. Most previous research has been limited to a measure of demeanor at one point in time. Our design allowed for measurement of changes in demeanor as the policeĝ€"citizen interaction developed, and our examination revealed that the demeanor of both officers and suspects changed during the encounters in a substantial number of cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-21
Number of pages16
JournalPolice Quarterly
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

Keywords

  • Behavioral change
  • Decision making
  • Demeanor
  • Police
  • Policeĝ€"citizen interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law

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