Rural Officer Habitus and Attitudes Toward Proposed Changes to Law Enforcement

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The field of policing has increasingly come under public scrutiny due to the events surrounding the deaths of citizens at the hands of officers. While this has spurred a call for changes to police training and practices, conspicuously absent from the conversation are the voices of officers themselves. This study addresses this lacuna by examining the attitudes and opinions of rural law enforcement, challenging the notion that the findings of studies concerning urban police can be generalized to rural departments. We argue that opposed to individualistic "rotten apples" theories, rural police behavior is best understood as patterned by the habitus of officers. This study explicates how the field experienced by rural law enforcement interacts with and modifies their response to the hypermasculine training and increasing militarization of American policing to produce an officer habitus distinct from that of their urban counterparts.



FTO, habitus, militarization of policing, policing, rural


International Journal of Rural Criminology, v4, n1 (July, 2018), p. 110-134