School of Criminal Justice Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Justice and Human Services

First Advisor

Brenda J. Deans

Second Advisor

Grace A. Telesco

Third Advisor

Peter W. Phillips


The barbaric and targeted killings of police officers have become a growing epidemic facing the nation. An immediate consequence has created the monumental task in protecting the men and women who daily put their lives on the line on behalf of the public. Staggering national numbers over these last ten years has indicated a strong surge in the number of law enforcement officers being ambushed by domestic extremists. The purpose of the current research study was to present an overall awareness and threat picture to the law enforcement and academic communities to better educate men and women in law enforcement and to explain who exactly are these domestic extremist groups and/or individuals carrying out this violence and their ideologies and traits that make them crave such an outcome. The current research study utilized a strong exploratory qualitative focus by interviewing several law enforcement members and intelligence personnel in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area to (a) gauge their jurisdictional domestic extremist threat picture; (b) to understand what policing tactics were being employed currently to produce effective “officer safety” protocols while embracing community relationships (if any); and (c) what recommendations they may have for other jurisdictions that will keep safe law enforcement men and women. If one law enforcement life can be saved from the current research study, then every second spent on the research was well worth it.