Police Discipline in Houston: The Arbitration Experience

Mark Iris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In many cities, police discipline is subject to final adjudication through binding arbitration. Police agencies’ intensive internal reviews of disciplinary actions suggest that arbitrations would likely uphold management most times. Instead, prior research showed that in Chicago, arbitrators “split the baby,” with net reductions of discipline of almost exactly 50%. This research examines all arbitrations of sworn officers’ discipline in Houston during a 5-year span (1994-1998). The findings are similar to those observed in Chicago: Arbitrators reduce discipline by approximately 50%. This was observed for discharge cases and temporary suspensions (15 days or less). The implications of this pattern are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)132-151
Number of pages20
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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