Empirical research has found that the rise in national attention and criticism toward American law enforcement in the wake of Ferguson (i.e., summer 2014 and beyond) has negatively influenced police officers’ perceptions and behavior. Yet, there is variation in how officers have viewed motivation, morale, and proactivity in the post-Ferguson era. Building on previous work and integrating the “media effects” literatures from the disciplines of political science and communications, specifically Gerbner and colleagues’ cultivation theory, the current study examined whether consulting professional/trade publications was associated with officer perceptions of the Ferguson effect among a nationally representative sample of 163 US police chiefs. Results found that those chiefs who subscribe to/regularly visit professional/trade law enforcement publications, such as Law Enforcement Today and Police1, were more likely to hold negative perceptions of the Ferguson effect. That is, chiefs indicated greater problems with motivation, morale, and productivity in their respective departments. Chiefs who experienced backlash (e.g., protests/demonstrations) in their jurisdictions were also more likely to hold negative perceptions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology