African American and Hispanic male youth perceptions of police officers who patrol in urban communities  (2015)

Researcher(s):

Project Sponsor(s)

  • Office of the Vice President for Research

Project Categories

Given the ongoing tensions between law enforcement and citizens that appear to have a racial slant, it is deemed important to explore and understand perceptions that may contribute to police incidents culminating in violence and tragedy.

This study is specifically designed to explore young African American and Hispanic male perceptions of police officers.  The study poses four questions related to African American and Hispanic males’ perceptions of police officers: 1) What perceptions do African American and Hispanic male youth have of African American and Hispanic police officers? 2) How do young African American and Hispanic males expect to be treated by African American and Hispanic police officers? 3) Who would African American and Hispanic youth rather patrol in their neighborhood? 4) How do African American and Hispanic male youth think African American and Hispanic police officers view them?

The goal of the study is to understand the factors contribute to the development of African American and Hispanic male youths’ perception of police officers and whether the development of these factors is affected by the race of the police officer.

The specific objectives of this study are:

  1. To include participants from different backgrounds and social circumstances
  2. To allow youth to openly discuss their experiences with police officers
  3. To give law enforcement agencies objective information that will help train officers who patrol in urban communities
  4. To collect data that will provide a valid basis for understanding African American and Hispanic male youth perceptions of police officers in the community where they patrol.

Overall, this line of research aims to facilitate better relations between law enforcement and the communities in which they work.