Racial/Ethnic Diversity in Positions of Power in U.S. Law Enforcement: An Examination of Active Representation and Disparities in Vehicle Stops

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasing minority representation in law enforcement has long been viewed as a means of improving police-citizen relations. Yet, little scholarly attention has examined whether racial/ethnic diversity translates into desired outcomes. These studies largely measure the racial/ethnic composition of the agency in general—not in positions of power where they are most likely to make an impact on department policy/practice (i.e., ‘active representation’). Using data from the 2016 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey, the current study 1) provides an overview of Black and Hispanic representation in chief executive, mid-level management, and supervisory roles and 2) explores the impact that diversity in these positions has on racial/ethnic disparities in vehicle stops in Illinois and Missouri. Minority officers are more underrepresented in these positions of power compared to their composition in agencies in general, and higher levels of representation are not significantly associated with reductions in disparities in stops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalRace and Justice
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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