Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Melanye Smith


Highly publicized media events involving African American men and the use of deadly force by police officers have occurred between 2013 and 2014. These events have emphasized the need to examine the influence of implicit bias training on police officers' decision-making processes. During the past two decades, Community Oriented Policing Services has invested several billion dollars in training programs designed to eliminate racial bias within the law enforcement community. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how implicit-bias training influences the decision-making processes of police officers. More specifically, this study examined the perceptions of police officers regarding the practical value of implicit-bias training and how the training influences their cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills. An online questionnaire containing open-ended questions was administered to 32 sworn, full-time police officers who interact daily with members of diverse communities. The data were coded using evaluation coding, magnitude coding, and descriptive coding. This form of coding assisted in identifying attitudes and stereotypes as well as the impact of implicit bias training police officers' cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills. Participants reported that implicit bias training made them better prepared to manage their biases while interacting with diverse communities. The findings of this study will provide police agencies and law enforcement training facilitators with the tools they need to improve future training outcomes. Successfully training police officers on how to manage implicit bias during the decision-making process will reduce the potential for stereotyping.