Articles Analysis Essay on Bias and Racism in Police System

Paper Type:  Article review
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1496 Words
Date:  2022-09-11

Tyler, T. R., Goff, P. A., & MacCoun, R. J. (2015). The impact of psychological science on policing in the United States: Procedural justice, legitimacy, and effective law enforcement. Psychological science in the public interest, 16(3), 75-109.

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The release of the report on policing highlights a fundamental change in various issues, which dominate the aspect of police enforcement of different laws. The change has made people be mostly concerned with the actions of the police and how such actions would influence public trust, as well as have confidence in the police. Ideally, the shift in discourse has made the police to enforce laws without any sense of bias. In essence, this comes about as most public officials recognize the people they govern. Moreover, as police professionalism increases, they champion for equal rights of individuals despite the races and ethnic groups to which they belong. In essence, the police are aware of the limits that the dominant coercive model would bring forth when it comes to policing (Tyler, Goff, & MacCoun, 2015).

However, it is considered that the dramatic declines in crime rates have not caused a substantial increase in legitimacy of the police. As the police incorporate a consensual model, which brings them closer to the public, people develop trust in both the police and the legal system in entirety. Therefore, the laws they enforce, serve people from diverse racial and ethnic groups equally hence showing their non-biased nature in any way whatsoever. The legitimacy of the police always shape a range of law-related behaviors of individuals to the extent that they do not risk punishment based on their acts. The behaviors consist of compliance with the set laws and adequate cooperation with the legal authorities. As such, the authorities will operate with legitimacy when the people they serve, cooperate with them (Tyler et al. 2015).

Additionally, procedural justice shapes legitimacy and provides legal authorities with a snapshot of the strategies they can incorporate to maintain public trust and avoid bias. Due to the benefits brought about by legitimacy, and a range of guidelines that concern its antecedents, many policymakers will focus on the issue of public trust when considering policing issues. The policy-based model shows that psychology can lead to the incorporation of evidence-based policies in the criminal law field (Hall, Hall, & Perry, 2016). Apart from police legitimacy, another aspect that is considered to help the police enforce unbiased laws is community policing. This shows a radical movement from the professional policing model, which had been dominant for long periods.

Precisely, the police assumed that policing majorly aimed at fighting crime, and the need for the police to undertake their tasks with little interference or help from the public. The police were considered experts who would define the nature of problems in criminal acts, as well as the solutions that could serve appropriate for different issues. However, in such cases, the community did not play any crucial role in the functions of the police as the policing industry had to deal with the crime problems. Community policing was put in place to ensure that the community promoted public policy, as well as engage the community when defining the priorities of the police. Through community policing, the police tend to incorporate problem-solving, provision of efficient services, as well as facilitate conflict resolution as they broaden their functions (Hall et al. 2016).

Another approach seen to promote non-bias in the enforcement of laws is procedural justice policing. This model responds to any crisis that may influence the relationship between the police and the public. Procedural justice policing always predicts the changes that might facilitate crime control. Many people argue that such a model will bring forth stronger gains in crime prevention as compared to traditional innovations that are seen to focus directly on the control of crimes. In this aspect, the police would treat criminals just as other individuals in their daily encounters. Changes in the behavior of police officers in encounters with citizens can alter the perceptions of both the police and the community at large. Due to a change in perceptions, the level of compliance with the police authority will increase substantially (Tyler et al. 2015). Even though the significance of policing is established in this article and seen to influence the police in enforcing appropriate and unbiased laws, I disagree with this position. This is because most of the police base their functions on racial bias and prejudices such that they may favor criminal from their ethnic groups as opposed to others outside the group. Also, community policing may not lead to positive outcomes as views and opinions of a specific ethnic group may not be considered to be vital regarding the laws enforced.

Sommers, S. R., & Marotta, S. A. (2014). Racial disparities in legal outcomes: On policing, charging decisions, and criminal trial proceedings. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1(1), 103-111. Retrieved from

In the legal world, people are affected by various life-altering decisions that different systems make. Police officers tend to make judgments about individuals who may be held responsible for engaging in particular acts. Prosecutors always consider a range of conflicting accounts before they can charge a suspect. The juries would reconcile evidence in the criminal trials and come up with a unanimous verdict. However, in the enforcement of laws by the police, there is bias and racial disparity, which would influence the legal outcomes. The racial biases taint the process of decision-making in the legal platform. In most cases, the race of a criminal suspect affects how the police would confront them. Various unconscious processes link both Blacks and Latinos with potential danger (Sommers, & Marotta, 2014).

An instance where police showed racial bias is in the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin who was a 17-year old African American. He was shot dead by George Zimmerman who worked as a watch coordinator in the neighborhood. When the shooter was taken into custody, he was released when he persuaded the police that the killing was a form of self-defense. The case shows that the actions taken against Zimmerman were biased since Martin was a young, African male. When he was taken into custody, Zimmerman was not charged since the police were satisfied with his self-defense explanation. It forced social media to initiate efforts to help draw attention to the shooting case. The efforts led to an investigation of the case by the Department of Justice (Wolfe, & Nix, 2016).

Regarding the case, various issues arose as people asked whether the release of Zimmerman would have been such fast and without charges had the shooter killed a White man. From this article, it is evident that the racial group of an individual can influence how other people view him in society. It links blacks to exposure to threats in the hands of the police. The tendency to associate African Americans and Hispanics with criminality is seen in various police instances as they enforce laws to govern people in society. As such, people always think about racial groups to make thoughts about crimes more accessible (Sommers, & Marotta, 2014).

Concisely, the race of a suspect can shape the inferences and opinions of other people who include the police. When it comes to the shooter paradigm, the police may take long to respond to unarmed Black targets. In this aspect, it shows that the police would attenuate shooter bias. I agree with the position that police tend to enforce laws with bias and racism due to racial profiling, which has always been evident between the enforcement of laws and minority groups in society. The act paints a picture of different ill-informed police officers who would act upon prejudices, as well as preconceived stereotypes. Even though in some cases the implicit biases of the police operate outside the sense of awareness of a person and are hidden, the biases are powerful and pervasive. As such, the police would treat the Black Americans more harshly and unfairly as opposed to the Whites who mostly receive fair treatment when it comes to compliance with the set laws (Wolfe & Nix, 2016)..


Hall, A. V., Hall, E. V., & Perry, J. L. (2016). Black and blue: Exploring racial bias and law enforcement in the killings of unarmed black male civilians. American Psychologist, 71(3), 175. Retrieved from

Sommers, S. R., & Marotta, S. A. (2014). Racial disparities in legal outcomes: On policing, charging decisions, and criminal trial proceedings. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 1(1), 103-111. Retrieved from

Tyler, T. R., Goff, P. A., & MacCoun, R. J. (2015). The impact of psychological science on policing in the United States: Procedural justice, legitimacy, and effective law enforcement. Psychological science in the public interest, 16(3), 75-109. Retrieved from

Wolfe, S. E., & Nix, J. (2016). The alleged "Ferguson Effect" and police willingness to engage in community partnership. Law and human behavior, 40(1), 1. Retrieved from

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