Training Police for Procedural Justice, by Wesley G. Skogan, Maarten Van Craen and
Cari Hennessy. Working Paper, October 2014
Objectives: This paper reports the findings of an evaluation of a police training program on
the principles of procedural justice. This training was part of a larger organizational change
strategy aimed at improving the relationship between the police and the public in Chicago.
Methods: The paper reports on the findings of two studies. The short-term effects study was a
quasi-experimental test of the immediate effectiveness of the training conducted at the police
academy. A longer-term effects study examined the subsequent views of trainees and a
comparison group, officers who had not yet been to training. Statistical controls were used to
increase confidence in the findings of the second study, which was based on observational
Results: In the short term, training increased officer support for all of the procedural justice
dimensions included in the experiment. Post-training, officers were more likely to endorse the
importance of giving citizens a voice, granting them dignity and respect, demonstrating
neutrality, and (with the least enthusiasm) trusting them to do the right thing. All of the effects
of training were strong, with standardized effect sizes ranging from 1.2 to 1.6. Longer-term,
officers who had attended the procedural justice workshop continued to be more supportive of
three of the four procedural justice principles introduced in training; the effect of training on
trust was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: There has been little systematic research on police training. This paper
concludes that it can play a role in improving police-community relations. It also presents a
discussion of some of the limitations of a training-based organizational change strategy.
Keywords: quasi-experiment, survey, police training, procedural justice, neutrality, respect,
Procedural Justice Research Abstracts