Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Glenn Starks


In 1994 Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which in part gave the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (DOJCRD) the power to investigate local law enforcement agencies for Constitutional and civil rights violations. Researchers have found these investigations are expensive, time consuming, and highly intrusive to a law enforcement agency. To understand how these investigations are impacting communities, data were gathered on cities with local law enforcement agencies that have experienced an investigation by the DOJCRD. Using a quasi-experimental, multiple time-series research design with a paired samples t-test, the dependent variables (violent crime and arrest rates) were analyzed for any differences before and after the introduction of the independent variable (the commencement of a DOJCRD investigation). With an established a = .05, adjusting for non-reported crime, and comparing to a non-equivalent control variable (national crime rate), the research findings indicate increased violent crime with the commencement of these investigations. The results also show that arrest rates significantly decreased indicating the possibility of de-policing. The negative impact to communities with increased violent crime rates and decreased arrest rates calls into question the efficacy of DOJCRD investigations. By supporting the recommendation for Congress to repeal this power given to the DOJCRD, this research can lead to positive social change by preventing federal government intrusion into local government that is negatively impacting communities.