The Discipline and Punish Podcast
The Discipline and Punish Podcast
E13: Public Trust in Policing: Are We Even Ready to Begin the Conversation? (w/ Joe Hamm)

In this episode, Professor Joe Hamm discusses the role of public trust in policing. We talk about the current national crisis, what needs to happen before the process of building trust in policing can even begin, why it is so important, and his research on the subject.  

Joe Hamm is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Environmental Science at Michigan State University. A psychologist by training, his work lies at the nexus of government and the public where he investigates what trust is, how best to appropriately measure it, and its connection to “outcomes” like cooperation and compliance. Joe’s work spans a number of governmental contexts, seeking to use research on trust in trustees like the police, courts, water infrastructure managers, natural resource authorities, and a variety of state and federal entities to develop a cross-boundary social science of trust.

Joe works closely with a variety of criminal justice and environmental organizations, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Trust Research and Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law. His teaching responsibilities include CJ 905 (Law and Society), CJ 908 (The Cross-Boundary Social Science of Trust in the Institutional Context), and ESP 804 (Environmental Applications and Analysis). Joe also supervises the School of Criminal Justice’s doctoral traineeship in the State Courts and Society.
Twitter: @istudytrust

Tom Baker in a 2018 Tillman Scholar and has been a PhD student in UMSL’s Criminology and Criminal Justice program since 2017. Tom received his BA in Political Science from Arizona State University and worked as a police officer for approximately nine years. His research interests include police culture, use of force, and qualitative research methods.
Twitter: @thomasowenbaker

Research Discussed:
Hamm, J. A., Trinkner, R., & Carr, J. D. (2017). Fair process, trust, and cooperation: Moving toward an integrated framework of police legitimacy. Criminal justice and behavior, 44(9), 1183-1212.

Positive public perceptions are a critical pillar of the criminal justice system, but the literature addressing them often fails to offer clear advice regarding the important constructs or the relationships among them. The research reported here sought to take an important step toward this clarity by recruiting a national convenience sample to complete an online survey about the police in the respondent’s community, which included measures of the process-based model of legitimacy and the classic model of trust. Our results suggest that although both are predictive, the models can be integrated in a way that allows the strengths of each model to address the weaknesses of the other. We therefore present this model as a first step toward an Integrated Framework of Police Legitimacy that can meaningfully incorporate much of the existing scholarship and provide clearer guidance for those who seek to address these constructs in research and practice.

Keywords policing, legitimacy, trust, procedural fairness, trustworthiness

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