Citizen expectations of police traffic stop behavior

Richard R. Johnson (University of Cincinnati, Fairfield, Ohio, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The most frequent type of citizen complaint filed against police officers involves how the officer uses interpersonal communication. The most common context of police‐citizen contact is the traffic stop, and verbal judo is the most widely used police training program in interpersonal communication intended to reduce citizen complaints and improve citizen cooperation. However, does verbal judo meet citizen expectations for appropriate traffic stop behavior? In order to determine what communication behaviors citizens view as appropriate during traffic stops, a sample of 245 college students were surveyed about their preferences with regard to the officers' behavior. The responses of the sample support the use of verbal judo techniques during routine traffic stops. The responses also demonstrated support for the theory of procedural justice.



Johnson, R. (2004), "Citizen expectations of police traffic stop behavior", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 487-497.

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