Date of Conferral







Victoria Latifses


Individuals observe their surroundings and naturally judge others by what they observe or

hear. In recent media portrayals, law enforcement officers were scrutinized for use of

force and individuals were quick to verbalize their interpretation of events. Bandura's

social learning theory served as a focal lens to guide the study. This qualitative

phenomenological study examined lived experiences and what factors influence public

perception of law enforcement use of force. Interviews were conducted with 10

participants who have encountered or witnessed law enforcement officers utilize use of

force during a citizen encounter. NVivo software was used to code and analyze themes

from interviews. The findings indicated lived experiences and emotions were high and

did influence perception of use of force. Participants explained a variety of emotions

when discussing their lived experiences. In addition, social media and mainstream news

media played an important role in shaping perception of police officer use of force. This

study promotes social change by presenting law enforcement agencies and society insight

on how to improve on public perception and understanding of use of force so community

relationships with law enforcement can flourish.