As today's police executives strive to maintain the progress in reducing crime while serving as effective agents of change, many are taking on a new challenge: applying the concepts of "legitimacy" and "procedural justice" as they apply to policing. Legitimacy and procedural justice are measurements of the extent to which members of the public trust and have confidence in the police, believe that police are honest and competent, think that police treat people fairly and with respect, and are willing to defer to law and to police authority.
The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), is producing a series of reports on legitimacy in policing, beginning with "Legitimacy and Procedural Justice: A New Element of Police Leadership." In that paper, Yale Law Professor Tom Tyler, one of a few nationally recognized experts on the topic, defines legitimacy and procedural justice, and provides example of how these concepts have been applied by police leaders in New York City, Philadelphia, and Cambridge, Mass.
In this paper, PERF provides a more extensive analysis of the connections between leadership and legitimacy through an unusual case study: the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD).