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Exploring the Guardian Mindset as a Strategy for Improving Police-Community Relations

NCJ Number
Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology Dated: 2023
Date Published

This paper reports on a study that explored using the guardian mindset as a way to improve police-community relations; it describes the research methodology and discusses the outcomes, including law enforcement officers’ attitudes about their communities, communication styles, and implications for public policy.


The purpose of this study is to explore the guardian mindset as a means for improving police-community relations. Using data collected from 735 new officers in the USA, confirmatory factor analyses were used to evaluate the empirical validity of the guardian vs. warrior typology, and structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationships among the guardian mindset and outcomes believed to improve relations with the public. The results show that officers’ attitudes about the community and communication styles, but not attitudes about the role of the police, differentiate a guardian from a warrior orientation. The results also show that a higher-order guardian factor was related to attitudes about the use of force, procedural justice, and de-escalation. The findings provide some support for the positive effects of a guardian mindset on improving police-community relations while at the same time raising important questions for further study. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2023