Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Criminal Justice; Foreign Languages and Literature

First Advisor

R. Alan Thompson, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Criminal Justice

Abstract

Relationships between racial / ethnic minorities and law enforcement officers in the United States have long been a topic of concern. Given that Hispanics represent the largest racial / ethnic minority population in the United States, the nature of their collective and individual relationships with law enforcement is a topic worthy of empirical examination. Surprisingly, however, there is limited research specifically focusing upon the beliefs, perceptions and attitudes of Hispanics regarding law enforcement officers. This exploratory study examines the beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes of 101 Hispanics in South central Mississippi toward local law enforcement agencies and officers. Furthermore, the study examines the willingness of Hispanics to report various forms of crime. The findings of this study indicate that respondents manifested generally positive beliefs, perceptions and attitudes regarding law enforcement officers and indicated a willingness to report serious crimes. The study also indicates that more work needs to be done to enhance the relationship between members of the Hispanic immigrant community and law enforcement officers and agencies. The study also indicates a need for further empirical exploration of the topic and advanced methods of statistical analysis.

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