When she started her work, the overall understanding was that South American international locations had not reformed their police forces throughout their transitions to democracy as a result of there was a lot else that wanted to be accomplished. In that model of the story, fixing the police simply hadn’t been a precedence.
But when she dug slightly deeper, she discovered that there truly was quite a lot of public demand for higher safety and crime management, and sometimes quite a lot of anger in communities affected by police violence. The police hadn’t been neglected: They had been protected.
The police have been politically highly effective as a result of they might selectively withdraw their providers, permitting crime and dysfunction to rise, scary anger at elected officers. They additionally tended to be nicely related, ready to foyer successfully to defend their very own pursuits. That meant battle with the police was pricey for politicians, who tended to keep away from it, leaving police departments and practices largely unaltered.
But there was a particular, troublesome to obtain set of circumstances that, if met, would lead to police reform, Gonzalez discovered. Briefly summarized, her components was this: scandal + public unity + credible political opposition = reform.
The sequence began with a scandal or disaster that led public opinion to unite a majority of individuals in favor of reform, she wrote in her book “Authoritarian Police in Democracy.” If there was additionally an actual electoral menace from political opponents calling for reform, that may very well be sufficient to persuade leaders to act so as to stave off their competitors.
In Argentina and Colombia, that sequence led to main reforms after high-profile police killings.
But if even a kind of components was lacking, the established order continued. In Brazil, the Carandiru bloodbath was actually a scandal, and there was a reasonably sturdy political opposition that joined within the criticism, to some extent. But public opinion about it was fragmented: citing polls on the time, Gonzalez discovered that a few third of Brazilians authorized of the way in which that the police had dealt with the scenario. The second factor of the sequence, convergence of public opinion, was lacking. The consequence: no reform.