Master of Arts (MA)
First Committee Member
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In recent years, there has been heavily publicized incidents of police use of military weapons and tactics, which has raised concerns regarding the militarization of police. More famously, in 2014, Ferguson police utilized military weapons and tactics to quell the masses after the police shooting of Michael Brown incited protests and riots. Despite an overall decrease in incidents of police use of force and deadly shootings, individual dramatic events of police militarization paint a picture of a militarized police force. This coincides with an overall increase in military equipment transfers (e.g., weapons, vehicles) to police agencies in the United States. As police agencies become more militarized, the potential harm to police-community relations becomes ever more apparent. Therefore, it is imperative to assess public perceptions of police militarization. This study explores public support for police militarization across four dimensions (i.e., material, cultural, organizational, operational) that address different aspects of militarization. Additionally, to further contextualize levels of support, this study explores public attitudes of police-related factors (i.e., procedural justice, police legitimacy, public perceptions of police effectiveness, public experiences with the police, fear of crime) and individual characteristics as potential predictors of support for police militarization. This study employed an online survey distributed through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk national survey administration service to discern public support for police militarization. Finally, univariate, bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to assess all these factors.
Police legitimacy; Police militarization; Policing; Public perceptions
Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Law Enforcement and Corrections
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Lopez-Cristobal, Leobardo, "Public Perceptions of Police Militarization: A Nuanced Understanding of Public Support for Police Practices" (2020). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 3918.
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