Officer and suspect demeanor: A qualitative analysis of change

Roger G. Dunham, Geoffrey P. Alpert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Officer and suspect demeanor: A qualitative analysis of change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this