Examining racial disparity in the police discipline process

Jeff Rojek, Scott Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This article examines the police discipline process of a large police department for patterns of disparity in the treatment of minority officers.The analysis is based on 5 years of data collected from the internal affairs division of the department, which captures information on formally documented complaints, determinations of allegations of guilt, and penalties applied. The analysis reveals that minority officers are overrepresented in formally documented complaints, specifically in complaints initiated by other department officers and supervisors. However, analysis utilizing logistic regression finds that officer race is not a significant factor in determining guilt or degree of penalty applied. The implications of these findings and considerations for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-407
Number of pages20
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Complaint review
  • Police discipline
  • Policing
  • Racial disparity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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