This research was supported by funding from the National Institute of Justice (2001-IJ-CX-0035). The opinions expressed in this paper do not represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice or the National Institute of Justice or the RAND Corporation and its clients. We would like to thank Carl Jenkinson, Jennifer Calnon, Robin Engel and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
POLICE SUSPICION AND DISCRETIONARY DECISION MAKING DURING CITIZEN STOPS†
Article first published online: 4 AUG 2005
Volume 43, Issue 2, pages 407–434, May 2005
How to Cite
ALPERT, G. P., MACDONALD, J. M. and DUNHAM, R. G. (2005), POLICE SUSPICION AND DISCRETIONARY DECISION MAKING DURING CITIZEN STOPS. Criminology, 43: 407–434. doi: 10.1111/j.0011-1348.2005.00012.x
- Issue published online: 4 AUG 2005
- Article first published online: 4 AUG 2005
- police decision making;
- police suspicion;
- citizen stops
This study examines the influence of racial, demographic and situational variables on types of police suspicion and the ancillary decision to stop and question suspects. Data were drawn from an observational study of police decision making in Savannah, Georgia. Based on the literature, we hypothesized that minority suspects will be more likely to be viewed suspiciously by the police for nonbehavioral reasons. We also hypothesize that minority status will play a significant role in the decision to stop and question suspicious persons. The findings from this study provide partial support for these hypotheses. The results indicate that minority status does influence an officer's decision to form nonbehavioral as opposed to behavioral suspicion, but that minority status does not influence the decision to stop and question suspects. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding race and its role in police decision making.