A major study of police service delivery to the elderly indicates that most older persons have positive attitudes toward the police but that those who have either called the police or report more willingness to call the police have a higher degree of dissatisfaction than the elderly population at large.
The paper explores the reasons for the dissatisfaction of that segment of the elderly population which tends to rely most heavily upon the police. A prominent source of dissatisfaction is the normative expectations of what police service should be like that outrun the elderly's anticipations of the quality of police services that would be provided. The glamorized role of television police is singled out as a significant source of increased unrealistic normative expectations. The attitudes of the elderly toward themselves and toward their role in society also contribute to increased dissatisfaction with the police. Recommendations are proposed to improve police service delivery to the elderly. A total of 29 footnotes are supplied. (Author abstract modified)