Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 November 2021
The police are a critical but understudied institution in divided societies. I argue that integrating marginalized groups into the police improves citizens’ attitudes toward the state, not just in terms of their experiences today but also their expectations of the future. Integrating the police signals the government’s commitment to included groups’ security. The signal is critical because police departments are difficult to purge. Once integration is implemented, it is difficult for the state to undo. I propose that the difficulty of purging the police, and consequently the credibility of the government’s signal to an included group, depends not just on how many officers come from each group but also how those officers are distributed. This chapter also introduces the two main cases for analysis, Iraq and Israel, and summarizes the main findings.