May 19, 2022

3:00 p.m.

This event is for invited researchers only.

Scholar presenter:

Kyle Dobson, The University of Texas at Austin

Seed generators:

Michael Pratt, Boston College

Nick Camp, University of Michigan


Using Transparency to Build Authentic Connections with Law Enforcement

Talk description:

Trust in law enforcement is at a record low, despite billions of dollars invested in community-oriented policing approaches meant to build high-quality connections between police and communities. In part, this is because interactions with police officers tend to make community members feel threatened, even when the officers are not actively investigating a crime. In a field experiment (N=232 police-community interactions) we show that when officers add a 10-word “transparency statement” to the beginning of interactions with community members communicating their benevolent intent (“I’m walking around trying to get to know the community”), it reduces threat and increases trust. Data from ambulatory physiological sensors on community members and analysis of their recorded conversations revealed that the transparency statement led citizens to be more engaged initially and less threatened by the end. Analysis from coding these conversations will illuminate other aspects that help police authentically connect with their communities. With our research, we are building authentic, high-quality connections between law enforcement and their communities by helping police accurately communicate aspects of themselves to others.

Research is the heart of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS), and we want to make sure that we support each other in developing high quality research. To that end, we created the Adderley Positive Research Incubator for sharing and encouraging POS-related research ideas that are at various stages of development.

Learn more about the Adderley Positive Research Incubators here and direct questions about individual sessions to