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Criminal Justice


Frances L. Goldman


AbstractIn the United States, women and racial minorities are underrepresented in the law enforcement profession. Ideally, law enforcement agencies should reflect the racial makeup of the communities they serve; which has been a challenge for departments. The purpose of this study was to investigate what effect media reporting of unarmed Black men killed by police has had on women and racial minorities’ decisions to apply for police jobs. Another issue investigated was whether family attitudes influence women’s and racial minorities’ decision making about becoming police officers. The theoretical frameworks applied for this study were the critical race theory and punctuated equilibrium theory. A qualitative phenomenological methodology design allowed for information gathering via Zoom interview conference calls of participants. The study population consisted of a random sample of 11 women and people of color with no affiliation to law enforcement. The responses given by the participants from the interviews indicated a sense of distrust of law enforcement and a need for reform of current policies. Validation of this opinion was corroborated through the use of select coding and analysis software. The premise of this study was to help identify strategies that would encourage women and racial minorities to consider a career in law enforcement, which could reduce tension and perceived barriers between law enforcement officers and citizens. The findings may be used by law enforcement agencies to bring about positive social change through strategies that encourage women and racial minorities to consider a career in law enforcement. Having diverse law enforcement agencies could bring about positive social change for society overall.

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