Role Expectations of the Police: An Analysis of 50 State Statutes

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While police scholars, practitioners and policy makers each have views on the primary roles of the police in society, their opinions tend to be diverse. Here, we have aimed to describe the current state of role expectations of the police from an analysis of 2002 statutes from all 50 US states. We have then compared our findings to those of Burton et al.'s (1993) similar study in an effort to determine change patterns in state statutes. The findings suggest that state laws from 2002 had a mixed law enforcement and peacekeeping approach to policing and provided more codified role expectations of the police than they did in 1993.