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

Kendra Gentry

Second Advisor

Allison Chappell

Third Advisor

Gracie Telesco


Civil unrest in the1960s pitted Black citizens and police officers against each other (Kerner Commission, 1968). The Kerner Commission examined race relations and recommended the hiring of more Black officers to patrol Black neighborhoods. Recent shooting deaths of unarmed Black males primarily by White officers has led to renewed calls for police reform (Scholsser, Cha-Jua, Valgoi & Neville, 2015). This quantitative secondary analysis study utilizes data from the 2013 LEMAS survey to compare local police departments from three states (N=184) to examine whether police departments with a Black chief and/or a higher rate of Black officers reported more participation in community oriented policing activities than police departments led by Whites. The study’s hypothesis is that local police departments led by a Black chief and departments with a high rate of Black officers will report greater participation in community oriented policing activities. Descriptive data along with results from Pearson’s correlation, ANOVA and multiple regression analysis indicate there are some benefits to appointing Blacks as police chief along with hiring more Black officers. In this study, the race of the chief had a positive but not significant impact on the number of reported COP activities. The presence of more Black officers was positively correlated at a significant level with reports of higher rates of COP activities.