A Thin Blue Line and the Great Black Divide: The Inter and Intra Departmental Conflict Among Black Police Officers, Their Agencies, and the Communities in which They Work Regarding Police Use of Force Perception By Black Americans in a Southwestern State
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Conflict Analysis & Resolution
College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies
This study explores the relationship between Black police officers, Black citizens, and their external environment using a group of 30 police officers and citizens to establish the connection between police officer race and perceptions by same race citizens within the context of police use of force. I use the term Black to be inclusive of African Americans as well as others of African descent without regard to their ethnicity or national origin. Criminal justice means system application whereas criminology is the study of criminal behavior. In America, there exists a history of volatility between the police and Black communities. While I recognize that many Blacks may have no direct interaction with police, in order to facilitate this research, I rely on a well-known and controversial topic, which is the use of police force within Black communities. The participants involved in the study are employees of one of three large municipal police agencies or enrolled in an institution of higher education within a southwestern state. All participants self-identify as Black or African American. I employ qualitative methods by incorporating in-depth interviews in my research approach. At the conclusion of the study, the two groups’ perception about race, police use of force, and policing are compared, using common themes to develop a shared phenomenon of what it means to be a Black police officer and the Black officer’s relationship with the Black community. I suggest that because Black police officers experience a racial/professional dynamic; their twin identification causes them to believe that the Black community and non-Black officers question their racial and professional loyalty. I also suggest that the perception of Black police officers and Black citizens and the degree of support they enjoy or lack within their respective departments and communities affects their disposition regarding race and policing. Typically, researchers treat police as a homogenous racial group. This study is important because Black officers are neglected within the literature on police use of force and Black citizens are seldom asked about citizen-police relations involving Black officers. In addition, this project examines how the roles of professional and racial subcultures influence perceptions.
Vance DeBral Keyes. 2014. A Thin Blue Line and the Great Black Divide: The Inter and Intra Departmental Conflict Among Black Police Officers, Their Agencies, and the Communities in which They Work Regarding Police Use of Force Perception By Black Americans in a Southwestern State. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies. (28)
African American Studies Commons, Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Community-Based Research Commons, Criminology Commons, Criminology and Criminal Justice Commons, Demography, Population, and Ecology Commons, Peace and Conflict Studies Commons, Place and Environment Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons