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Ralph Bunche Journal of Public Affairs

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Using qualitative and quantitative data obtained from 30 interviews with local law enforcement managers (12 county sheriffs and 18 municipal police chiefs), this study explores the decision-making processes used by these managers in the context of a pursuit-related accident involving an innocent third party. My findings suggest that: (1) managers most often conduct internal investigations to ensure that their officers’ behavior demonstrated adherence to the agency’s standard operating procedures; (2) managers use multiple mechanisms, including consultations with legal actors and professional peers, to keep their pursuit policies updated with regard to case law; (3) policy restrictiveness shares a positive, but marginal, relationship with a manager’s education level; (4) policy restrictiveness shares a negative, but marginal, relationship with a manager’s total number of professional association memberships; and (5) policy restrictiveness shares a significant negative relationship with a manager’s total years of law enforcement experience.

 

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