Survey to Measure “Procedural Fairness” by NY Police Agencies


If you’ve been arrested, issued a traffic ticket or called police for help in Syracuse or Schenectady , N.Y., now might be your chance to tell city cops what you really think of them, says the Albany Times-Union. The John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety in Albany has a $340,000 National Institute of Justice grant to examine what people think about their encounters with the Schenectady and Syracuse police. The institute aims to conduct telephone interviews of 1,800 people who contacted police themselves or were stopped or arrested by police and ask questions about the respect and fairness shown by officers.

Schenectady Police Chief Mark Chaires said his department will promote the survey so people know the nonprofit institute is a legitimate organization that will keep respondents’ identities confidential. The department conducted a similar survey in 2008, but it was much smaller and done in-house by two civilian staffers. The 10-minute phone surveys, which began in August, measure something called “procedural fairness,” which refers to citizens being treated with dignity and respect and having someone listening to them, and an officer explaining what is being done. Studies have shown that when officers practice procedural fairness, the public is more likely to cooperate with police and commit fewer crimes.

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