U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

The Impact of Racial and Ethnic Composition on Police Decision Making Pathways in African, Asian, Hispanic, and Immigrant Communities

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $74,872)

Analyzing the impact of race on police discretion and decision-making must move beyond focusing on traffic stops and the characteristics of those individuals involved. Rather, to obtain a more holistic and robust understanding of the impact of race on police discretion, multiple types of situations must be analyzed, multiple decision points must be examined, a place-based theory of police behavior must be explored, and analysis must extend beyond the two traditionally examined racial categories (African and Caucasian Americans). The current study will examine over 606,000 police decision pathways that have been collected, each pathway consisting of up to four decision points, across multiple types of incidents, crimes and situations where police and citizens interact. Additionally, the study will focus on the impact of ethnic composition at places on these hundreds of thousands of decision pathways, an understudied subject in research on racial profiling, yet essential in devising a place-based theory of police behavior. Finally, the study will examine communities that have almost been completely ignored in research, specifically Asian Americans as well as other immigrant-based groups, in understanding how ethnic composition of neighborhoods impacts police officer justice decisions. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 13, 2007