Date of Award

8-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Richard E. Maurer

Second Supervisor

Christine M. Casey

Abstract

Many sociologists agree that environment influences behavior. What remains not known and difficult to determine is the impact of environmental factors, either singularly or in combination, on behavior. The purpose of the study was to identify factors or conditions present in the city’s neighborhoods and communities associated with allegations of police discourtesy or police use of offensive language during police-citizen encounters. An analysis of 2008 citizen complaint data against police officers in an urban U.S. city was conducted, guided by Turk’s theory of norm resistance and Sykes and Clark’s theory of deference exchange. Frequency analyses, Pearson’s chi-square tests of independence, and a regression correlation were used to determine whether an association existed between the dependent variable, allegations of police discourtesy or police use of offensive language during police-citizen encounters and six independent variables. The independent variables were socioeconomic status of the community in which the police-citizen encounter occurred. time of day, segmented into the timeframes of day shift, night shift, and midnight shift; day of week, segmented into midweek and weekend; gender; age; and race of the complainant and the police officer. Statistically significant relationships emerged between the dependent variable and the independent variables: socioeconomic status, gender, age, and race.

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