Insiders and Outsiders: Latino Researchers Navigating the Studying of the Police
Race and Justice
A large body of literature utilizes a qualitative methodology to study the police in communities of color. Within this literature are discussions of ethical and access issues involved in researching the police, as well as how gender shapes access and interactions with officers. However, there is a scarcity of literature exploring how the race/ethnicity of the researcher influences research with law enforcement. This article involves an exploration of how Latino academics studied what is often described as a secretive population, using ride-alongs and semistructured interviews with police officers in Chicago, IL, and Phoenix, AZ. Our goal was not to become insiders but rather to explain the multiple ways in which being both insiders (e.g., males) and outsiders (e.g., nonpolice) shaped our experiences as Latino researchers. Further, we also describe the strategies we implemented to gain access and to ensure continued access even when observing activities by officers that were ethically and racially questionable. Moreover, we discuss how our Latino background introduced both advantages and disadvantages in the field, and the techniques we devised that ultimately helped us develop rapport with officers. As a result, our research approach allowed us to gather data that reflected multiple perspectives of how officers viewed the communities they policed.
African/Black Americans, insider, Latino/Hispanic Americans, minority neighborhoods, outsider, race and policing, race/ethnicity
Claudio G. Vera Sanchez and Edwardo L. Portillos. "Insiders and Outsiders: Latino Researchers Navigating the Studying of the Police" Race and Justice (2021): 384-406. https://doi.org/10.1177/2153368718802410