The Overlooked Perspective of Police Trust in the Public: Measurement and Effects on Police Job Behaviors


Many studies have looked at the public’s trust in the police, but very few have examined police trust in the public. Based on Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman’s model of trust, we conducted two studies. The first study created scales measuring the antecedents of trust and assessed police trust in the public based on a survey of 990 police officers from across the United States. The second study used the trust measures developed in the first study, as well as supervisors’ evaluations and archival performance data, in a study of the job performance of 135 police officers. We found that officers who had greater trust in the public engaged in more proactive policing and made more arrests. We discuss the implications of these findings, including what they mean for police officers and the communities they serve.

Criminal Justice Policy Review, 31(5)
Scott M. Mourtgos
Scott M. Mourtgos
Ph.D. Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Utah and a National Institute of Justice LEADS scholar. I study policing and criminal justice policy. I am particularly interested in public perceptions of police use-of-force and the criminal justice system, investigative techniques in sexual assault cases, and crime deterrence policy.