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Citizen Oversight on Policing - Literature Review

            Efforts of public policing incorporate a variety of community organizations and agencies that assume a vital role in overseeing and evaluating law enforcement. These community representatives are most commonly referred to as civilian review boards or committees and serve to generate accountability and promote transparency within their community. In cases of potential police misconduct or corruption, these boards serve to review situations without bias and are representative of civilian opinions. The primary goals of civilian oversight are to enhance police creditability, ensure accountability, and restore the public confidence in the police and law enforcement; however, this ideology is often met with some resistance from police unions and officers. Many officers state their reason for the opposition is that citizens are not qualified due to the lack of law enforcement knowledge and believe police agencies should retain control over "policing the police." The debate on whether civilian oversight is effective has prompted several studies to determine the reasons for the differing viewpoints. Wilson and Buckler examined the resistance between police unions and the minority support for civilian oversight and determined that implementing a procedural method to address the early warning signs of police misconduct prove to be beneficial to the community and fosters a good working relationship between the public and law enforcement (Wilson & Buckler, 2010). To the contrary, Wells and Schafer determined that police officer's strongly oppose civilian oversight for the primary reason that it does not prevent misconduct and officers believe that the existing measures to combat misconduct are sufficient enough (Wells & Schafer, 2007).
             Using data collected from the 2003 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) database in combination with the data collected from the 2000 Census, Wilson and Buckler generated a sample of 474 agencies.

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