Professor at UCI - Department of Criminology, Law & Society

UCI SCHOOL OF SOCIAL ECOLOGY — Improving relations between police and the LGBTQ community is one aim of a first-of-its-kind survey being undertaken by researchers at UCI and NORC at the University of Chicago.

UCI Distinguished Professor Valerie Jenness, the co-PI (principal investigator) on the project, explained the motivation for the survey and interviews this way: “As we engage in a national discussion about policing in the United States, including calls to ‘defund the police,’ it is very important for us to have a better understanding of how members of the LGBTQ community experience and orient to the police. Doing so advances our understanding of the social allocation of things like legal cynicism and views of the police as ‘friend or foe.’ The ultimate goal is to use our findings to inform policy and practice.”

The study “is the first to survey a nationally representative probability sample of LGBTQ adults to understand their experiences with and attitudes toward law enforcement,” says Stefan Vogler, the principal investigator and NORC research scientist. “Not only will this give us foundational knowledge from an academic perspective; it will give us great insight into how we might improve relations between police and the LGBTQ community. The qualitative interviews that are part of this study will allow LGBTQ people to explain in their own words how they experience police interactions and to voice their concerns in a way that we hope will lead to policy suggestions, new approaches to training police, and more.”