Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Michael Knight


The loss of public trust in police institutions across the United States has increased and continues to grow as negative police interactions are broadcast on the news and social media outlets. Fueling the problem are police departments that are not representative of the communities they serve. Marginalized individuals are less likely to be heard by representatives of police departments, yet these individuals are needed to change negative perceptions. Hispanic females were selected for this study as part of those marginalized individuals. A generic qualitative approach was used to build this research with representative bureaucracy theory as the theoretical framework to better understand the relationship between police departments and Hispanic females. This study investigated the motivators, barriers, and facilitators for 15 Hispanic females to become police officers. Aggregate data of all participants were holistically coded and themes developed. This study found that adequate pay, positive police contact, serving a purpose, appropriate guidance, negative police contact, job market saturation, criminal background, higher level of education, and appropriate support were significant factors for Hispanic females to become police officers. Policy makers who are better informed regarding the attitudes of Hispanic females toward law enforcement can develop more equitable policies. Lasting positive social change could be achieved when equitable policies are created that increase public trust and strengthen the working relationship between the police and traditionally marginalized communities while increasing public safety and decreasing the number of people hurt during police encounters.