Date of Conferral

2019

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Criminal Justice

Advisor

Deborah Laufersweiler-Dwyer

Abstract

Police use-of-force is a topic of interest to most Americans. High-profile shootings of minority citizens and the increase in ambush death rates of police officers has been problematic by dividing society into segments of harsh critics of an entire profession or supporters of the nation’s heroes. While use-of-force is highly researched, most existing work has typically forgone the examination of officer mindset in lieu of the more patent explanatory variables of race, sex, and method. The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the psychological influences of officer motivation from those responsible for providing instruction to police officers. This quantitative study focused on perceptions of Public Attitude Towards Police (PATP) as held by police training officers, specifically Academy Instructors (AIs), Departmental Training Officers (DTOs), and Field Training Officers (FTOs) (N = 120). Conflict and organizational theories provided the theoretical foundation for citizen-police conflict, and departmental influence. Data were collected with a Likert scaled questionnaire to discover and present (a) the impacts of perceptions of (PATP) held by police training officers in eleven departments, and (b) variances of those impacts between the three types of trainers. Simple regression analysis revealed a significant statistical impact of use-of-force training by perceptions of PATP by all groups of police trainers, and one-way between groups analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed a significant difference between impacts of PATP on FTOs in comparison to AIs and DTOs. The present study’s results may have a positive impact on social change through the awareness in consideration of mitigating the frequency of use-of-force incidents and increasing safety to law enforcement and the citizenry.

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