Complaint-Oriented_Policing_Regulating_H.pdf - 872671 research-article2019 ASRXXX10.1177\/ Sociological ReviewHerring Complaint-Oriented Policing

Complaint-Oriented_Policing_Regulating_H.pdf - 872671...

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American Sociological Review 1–32 © American Sociological Association 2019 DOI: 10.1177/0003122419872671 journals.sagepub.com/home/asr It’s 6am and officers Rodriguez and Shar- key are beginning their morning shift from San Francisco’s Mission Police Station. “Alright, let’s see where we’re off to this morning,” Rodriguez says, switching on the patrol car’s dashboard. The screen wedged between the passenger and driver’s seat lights up a list of 36 calls listing the time, a numeric code delineating the type of call, and a street address. “Hey, not so bad! It’s still early though.” Of the calls on the screen, twenty-one are coded 915, or what is officially called “homeless complaints.” If the 911 dispatcher receiving the call con- cludes that the reported violation covers one of the city’s 24 anti-homeless laws and does not involve a more serious crime, or a nui- sance violation involving a housed person, they dispatch the call as a homeless complaint. Officers Rodriguez and Sharkey respond to the calls in the order received. Driving to the first call, a mere five minutes from the sta- tion, we pass eleven tents and several more bodies laid out on cardboard, piles of blan- kets, and the hard-damp concrete, all violat- ing the exact same ordinance we’re chasing after, “illegal lodging.” We pull up to a 872671 ASR XX X 10.1177/0003122419872671American Sociological ReviewHerring research-article 2019 a University of California-Berkeley Corresponding Author: Chris Herring, University of California-Berkeley, 410 Barrows Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720 Email: [email protected] Complaint-Oriented Policing: Regulating Homelessness in Public Space Chris Herring a Abstract Over the past 30 years, cities across the United States have adopted quality-of-life ordinances aimed at policing social marginality. Scholars have documented zero-tolerance policing and emerging tactics of therapeutic policing in these efforts, but little attention has been paid to 911 calls and forms of third-party policing in governing public space and the poor. Drawing on an analysis of 3.9 million 911 and 311 call records and participant observation alongside police officers, social workers, and homeless men and women residing on the streets of San Francisco, this article elaborates a model of “complaint-oriented policing” to explain additional causes and consequences of policing visible poverty. Situating the police within a broader bureaucratic field of poverty governance, I demonstrate how policing aimed at the poor can be initiated by callers, organizations, and government agencies, and how police officers manage these complaints in collaboration and conflict with health, welfare, and sanitation agencies. Expanding the conception of the criminalization of poverty, which is often centered on incarceration or arrest, the study reveals previously unforeseen consequences of move- along orders, citations, and threats that dispossess the poor of property, create barriers to services and jobs, and increase vulnerability to violence and crime.
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