Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Gregory Koehle


The shootings and killings across the country of unarmed African American males by police officers, has become a topic of discussion. Previous research indicates that African American males, in comparison to other groups, are more likely to have adverse encounters with law enforcement officials. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of African American males in Prince Georges' County regarding encounters with the Prince Georges' County Police Department and how the relationship can improve. Max Weber's social action theory was used to examine perception and purposive sampling aided in gathering this information from a group of 10 African American male participants. Interviews were transcribed and then coded and analyzed using a modified Van Kaam procedure. Findings suggest most participants believe Prince Georges County police are doing a good job. The participants also noted specific strategies, including better utilization of seminars, meetings, and other collaborative efforts may improve police-community interactions and relations. The implications for positive social change include recommendations to law enforcement executives in the Prince Georges' County Police Department to utilize the insight gained through this study to better understand how they are perceived by the African American males in the county and strengthen outreach and collaboration efforts. Following these recommendations may improve the nature of police-community relations thereby advancing public safety within the county and with the African American community in particular.