Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
In the United States of America today, there are concerns regarding the appropriate functioning of the police service and a lack of effective police accountability. African Americans have often been victims of unprofessional police conduct; however, their views have rarely been found adequately represented in the literature on the subject. The purpose of this case study was to fill this identified gap in the academic literature. A conceptual framework composed of the afrocentric, environmental contingency, and conflict theories was used to guide and inform this inquiry. The main research question focused on discovering which form of police oversight is seen as the most trusted, respected, and fair method of ensuring police accountability from an African American perspective in a mid-western U.S. city. Data were collected through review of pertinent documents, and through interviews and observation of 8 purposefully selected members of the African American community in the city. All data were inductively coded and then subjected to thematic analysis.The key finding of this study revealed that the most trusted, respected, and fair method of ensuring police accountability within the local African American community is a process that is not controlled only by the police. Participants consistently noted that it was their belief that an outside person, board, committee, or agency should evaluate cases of unprofessional police conduct, when appropriate. The findings of this study resulted in recommendations to the police leadership that may provide increased understanding, give a voice to this community, assist in devising good public policy, and benefit all citizens of the region.