Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Jesse Lee


Social media has become an important tool used by citizens to assess police officers’ activities through user-generated videos that are posted online. However, little is understood about how police officers, who are the main actors of these videos, feel about this phenomenon. Employing the Lazarus transactional theory and the emotional labor theory, this phenomenological study explored the perceptions of patrol officers regarding the history of user-generated postings of police activity. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with 8 police officers who patrol in metropolitan areas of Florida and Puerto Rico. The data obtained through these interviews were transcribed and coded, and themes were analyzed. Results obtained suggested that police officers associate online postings of police activity with criticism and misjudgment. Although some of the participants believe social media may aid with the scrutiny of police interventions, they also felt that these interpretations may be misrepresented. The Lazarus transactional model facilitated the understanding of how social media postings can become a stressor for officers. This theory may also provide coping mechanisms for this stressor. The implications for positive social change include a description of the need to prepare training material that may help officers adopt effective approaches to address their concerns. Another implication for social change is to help the public understand how the recording and posting of law enforcement activity on social media may have an adverse effect on police officers’ emotional stability.