Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Criminal Justice Sciences
Jessie L. Krienert
Little is known about the impact that higher education has on students’ perceptions of the police, especially with respect to justice education. This study examines perceptions of the police among college students at Illinois State University. It questions how differences in education levels, major, race, age, and gender affect student perceptions about the police. A 55-question online survey was administered to 451 students at Illinois State University.
Results revealed that those with more education did not have significantly different contact with police officers than those with less education, however, they were significantly more likely to report negative attitudes towards the police. Significant differences were also noted across both race and gender. No significant differences were noted between criminal justice and non-criminal justice majors when examining contact with and attitudes towards the police.
Qualitative data was also gathered and supported the quantitative results finding that those with higher education levels displayed a more positive view and outlook of the police. Freshman expressed the most frustration when describing their opinions about the police and their encounters with the police. Criminal justice major participants expressed more favorable views of police than other majors. Future researcher should include a wider representation of respondents by gender, race, and academic level.
KEY WORDS: College students’ perceptions; Justice Education; Public Perceptions; Police Legitimacy; Procedural Justice; Race
Brown, Lashanti Wilson, "Do College Students’ Perceptions of the Police Differ by Education Level and Major?" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1050.