These are not my finest two photos (I blame the moving train), but I saw this on the T today and couldn’t help wondering what kind of people we are trying to attract into the police force, and what kind of message we are sending about what policing looks like.

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Surely something closer to this, the first image that comes up when you google “community policing”, would be a better option?


See here for a review by Hillary Haley and Jim Sidanius of some of the social psychology literature on how hierarchy-attenuating organizations like police forces reproduce themselves:

Specifically, recent research has shown that hierarchy-enhancing (HE) organizations (e.g. police forces) tend to be occupied by those with anti-egalitarian beliefs, while hierarchy-attenuating (HA) organizations (e.g. civil liberties organizations) tend to be occupied by those with relatively democratic beliefs. This research has also provided evidence for five (non-mutually exclusive) processes underlying this institutional assortment: self-selection, institutional selection, institutional socialization, differential reward, and differential attrition.