Abstact: This study examines the impact of perceived community alienation on levels of self-reported mastery and motivation for proactive law enforcement for 272 police officers from eleven law enforcement agencies in a large Southeast Michigan County. Also, it investigates the impact of three highly publicized "anti-police" judicial verdicts (i.e., Rodney King, Malice Green, and O.J. Simpson) on the predicted alienation-mastery-proactive enforcement relationship.
It is well known in law enforcement circles that the individual line officer wields an enormous amount of discretion in enforcing the law (esp, non-dispatched runs like traffic enforcement or street crime). What is surprising is the public belief that police are usually eager and motivated to do their job. Thus, when a particular crime problem becomes apparent, it is often approached by monetary related arguments, such as the need for more police, equipment, training etc; rather than by non-monetary related approaches, such as recognizing how a high perception of alienation among police officers from the citizens of the community where they patrol reduces morale and spawns police indifference and inactivity.