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Police uniform color and citizen impression formation

Abstract

Clothing color and style are significant factors in impression formation in first-time dealings with strangers. Four common police uniform color schemes are evaluated for their influence on seven scales of impression formation with a sample of 737 citizens in a Midwestern city. Consistent with the previous literature, the all black color scheme was viewed most negatively on six of the seven scales. The light blue shirt and navy blue pants color scheme created the most positive impression on all seven scales. The implications of these findings for police-community relations and department uniform selection are discussed.

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Correspondence to Richard R. Johnson.

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Author Note: Richard R. Johnson is a doctoral candidate in criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati and a former police officer. He holds a B.S. in criminal justice from Indiana University and an M.S. in criminology from Indiana State University. Communications may be sent to 20 Ridge Dr., #208, Fairfield, OH 45014

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Johnson, R.R. Police uniform color and citizen impression formation. J Police Crim Psych 20, 58–66 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02852653

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Keywords

  • Police Officer
  • Police Department
  • Color Scheme
  • Impression Formation
  • Uniform Color