This article describes the evolution of a project examining the impact of encounters on public confidence in the police. It reviews the background of the research, the central puzzle that drove the project, and the events that led to its discovery. I was surprised by my initial inability to confirm the expected relationship between encounters and confidence. Rather than encouraging confidence, encounters that people themselves rated positively did not seem to increase satisfaction with police, and for many actually made things worse. Here I discuss how I confronted this puzzle, what I concluded, and what other researchers have since done with the findings. I conclude with some notes on the research agenda implied by all of this research, and how the entire process accords with the ways in which scientific research proceeds.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science