Debunking the Myth of Officer Friendly
The results of a survey of 125 high school African American males regarding attitudes toward and contacts with the police are presented. Findings suggest that personal interaction with the police is not the sole or primary determinate of juvenile attitudes. Attitude formation is a complex process involving both direct and indirect police contact. A majority of the males report experiencing the police as a repressive rather than facilitative agent in their own lives and in the lives of their friends and relatives. Although positive encounters with the police are not sufficient to overcome negative attitudes, improved attitudes and respect for the police can be engendered by increased opportunities for the two groups to encounter each other in service rather than enforcement situations.