Lawful Policing

Wesley G. Skogan*, Tracey L. Meares

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Police compliance with the law is one of the most important aspects of a democratic society. Americans expect the police to enforce laws to promote safety and to reduce crime, victimization, and fear, but no one believes that the police should have unlimited power to do so. We expect police to enforce laws fairly according to law and rules that circumscribe their enforcement powers. The existence of these rules justify the claim that police are a rule-bound institution engaged in the pursuit of justice and the protection of individual liberties, as well as the battle against crime. This article reviews research on the extent to which police follow laws and rules, especially constitutional criminal procedure rules, addressing seizures, searches, interrogations, and deadly force. Also reviewed is research pertaining to police adherence to rules governing excessive force, corruption, and racial profiling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-83
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Constitutionality
  • Corruption
  • Excessive force
  • Interrogation
  • Search and seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


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