Measuring trust in the police: the impact of instrumental and expressive concerns on African-Americans

Chambers, Darryl L.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Delaware
The disturbing history between inner city minorities and local police departments has a lingering impact on police-community relations in many jurisdictions. To combat social ills including crime problems in these disadvantaged neighborhoods, it is imperative for police departments to employ policing strategies conducive to and oriented toward building public trust in the police, which is arguably the foundation of legitimate and effective policing. This thesis examines the effects of an instrumental model versus an expressive model on procedural-based trust and outcome-based trust in the police. Data used in this analysis was taken from a 2010 survey of 520 African-American residents residing in Wilmington, Delaware. The findings suggested that African-American residents were able to differentiate between procedural-based and outcome-based trust. The instrumental model was better in predicting procedural-based trust in the police, while the expressive model accounted better for outcome-based trust in the police. These findings provide politicians, law enforcement agencies, civic leaders, and residents specific directions to develop policies and policing strategies to reduce crime, to build strong communities, and to bridge the gap between law enforcement and residents in minority communities.