Policing is not easy, and in order to gain success, have respect, and be a leader, it is essential to follow principles of procedural justice. Procedural justice can be explained as a means of achieving legitimacy in resolving disagreement (Police Executive Research Forum [PERF], 2014). It also helps to build good relations with the community and improves police officer safety (Kunard & Moe, 2015). Procedural justice can refer to one’s agency (internal), meaning the quality of communication within the organization, or refer to the community (external), meaning the quality of communication between officers and the members of the community (Kunard & Moe, 2015). The purpose of this paper is to study internal and external procedural justice principles, their strengths and weaknesses, and suggest a program to address the defined weaknesses.
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Internal Procedural Justice
At work, everyone wants to feel valued and be treated with fairness and respect. Researchers note that “officers who feel they are treated fairly by their departments are better able to implement policies that promote justice” (Quattlebaum et al., 2018, p. 7). Moreover, these officers are more willing to communicate respectfully with the community (Quattlebaum et al., 2018). Thus, one of the strengths of this approach is that it helps to build trust and respect among officers as well as it also positively influences their relations with the community. Moreover, the police officer often deals with much stress at work. Procedural justice has proven to reduce stress in law enforcement agencies (Tyler, 2017). Overall, there are many benefits of internal procedural justice and no proven disadvantages.
External Procedural Justice
It is crucial that a police officer should be trusted by her or his community. Law enforcement should accept a guardian mindset to build trust (Quattlebaum et al., 2018). According to Kunard and Moe (2015), procedural justice stands on four pillars: fairness, voice, transparency, and impartiality. If all these principles are applied, it is easier for a police officer to be seen as a guardian. However, the situation is different in white and African-American communities. According to the researchers, “nearly four times as many black persons as whites said they had “very little” confidence in their local police to treat the races equally” ([PERF], 2014, p. 27). Procedural justice is one of the main concerns of minority communities, and it is essential to put much effort into changing this perspective.
Whereas it is easier to be seen as a guardian by white community members, the police actions still have not built trust in African-American communities. It is necessary to work on eliminating racial bias among police officers. According to the researchers, it is essential to balance legitimacy and tactical and safety considerations ([PERF], 2014). It means it is necessary to make sure that a person a police officer is dealing with is not a danger, then he or she has a chance to build legitimacy even in a brief encounter. Special strategies should be developed for officers working with African-American communities.
Although the police officers tend to deal with much stress at work, internal procedural justice helps to reduce the level of stress and help officers implement policies promoting fairness and justice in the communities. The law enforcement should embrace a guardian mindset in order to build trust in communities. Moreover, it is necessary to put additional efforts into building trust in minority communities.
Kunard, L., & Moe, C. (2015). Procedural justice for law enforcement: an overview. Washington: Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Police Executive Research Forum. (2014). Legitimacy and procedural justice: a new element of police leadership. Web.
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Quattlebaum, M., Meares, T., Tyler, T., Mignouna, D., Niedzielski-Eichner, N., Prince, S., Waite, C. (2018). Principles of Procedurally Just Policing. Web.
Tyler, T. (2017). Procedural justice and policing: A rush to judgment?. Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 13, 29-53.