Nix and Colleague Find Police Perceive a “War on Cops” in the Aftermath of Ferguson, Discuss Impact on Policing and Society in their New Study
In a new study published in Justice Quarterly, Professor Justin Nix and colleagues (Scott Wolfe, Michigan State University and Brad Campbell, University of Louisville) surveyed 210 command-level police officers about the state of police-community relations in the two years following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. They found that the majority of their sample bought into the notion of a “war on cops” – that is, they believed citizens had become less compliant, more willing to resist officers, and more likely to assault officers. Yet contrary to what advocates of the “Ferguson Effect” proclaim, few officers reported that de-policing (i.e., avoiding proactively stopping citizens) had become commonplace in their agencies and elsewhere. Still, officers who felt strongly about the existence of a war on cops were more likely to believe that de-policing has become common in today’s world of law enforcement. These findings add to a growing body of research that suggests, regardless of whether the Ferguson Effect is behind the rising crime rates that have been observed in cities across the United States, police officers at the highest ranks have been affected by a perceived war on cops.
Story published March 2018