Common Sense about Police Review is the first comparative study to consider both civilian and internal police review processes. Using survey research of police attitudes and citizen complaints compiled over fifteen years from police departmentsMoreCommon Sense about Police Review is the first comparative study to consider both civilian and internal police review processes. Using survey research of police attitudes and citizen complaints compiled over fifteen years from police departments across the nation, Douglas Perez analyzes past and current review systems as a way to develop criteria for comparing three archetypal systems of police review: internal, external (civilian), and hybrid forms of the two.
High media visibility of several events in recent years - the 1988 police riot in New York Citys Tompkins Square, the 1991 videotaped beating of Rodney King, and the 1992 beating death of Malice Green by Detroit police detectives - has brought police review back into the public arena. Not since civil rights demonstrators clashed with police in the 1960s has officer accountability been so hotly debated.
Perez examines fairness, objectivity, and thoroughness in review systems throughout the country and offers a model for the ideal police review system. Crucial to any monitoring system are guidelines, which Perez stresses must insist on rigorous investigations of alleged police abuses, outline strict limitations of police action, strive to bridge gaps between police officers and citizens, and exonerate officers who are found to have acted properly and legally.
With these standards in place, the author asserts, a balance between self-sanctioning and enforced regulation can be achieved. Perez includes valuable discussions of both the causes of police attitudes and behavior and the misconceptions and expectations that can contribute to a pervasive public image of police malpractice.
Perez provides helpful reflections on the role ofpoliticians and administrators in implementing and maintaining police accountability.