Tom Tyler


Current efforts at police reform focus on heightening the legal accountability of police officers when they engage in questionable behavior. While valuable, such reforms do not address the underlying problems in police organizations that lead to problems with the use of force. This paper highlights the desirability of shifting from a warrior culture, one built around gaining compliance through the threat or use of force, to a guardian- or service-oriented culture, one focused on gaining acceptance by building trust and confidence among people in the community. Beyond changing the dynamics of authority in police-civilian encounters, this new model of policing promotes a climate of reassurance within communities that promotes their social, economic, and political vitality. Instead of focusing on harm reduction via crime control, the police can have a positive role in helping communities develop their way out of crime. Taking up that role requires the police to move from a harm reduction model to a model based upon creating and sustaining public trust.



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