Date of Award

Summer 2019

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Chair

Dr. Laura Gulledge

Committee Chair School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Member 2

Dr. Charles Scheer

Committee Member 2 School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Committee Member 3

Dr. Joshua Hill

Committee Member 3 School

Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security

Abstract

Officer characteristics, situational factors, and organizational factors are common predictors in identifying and explaining police use of force (Friedrich, 1980). While these domains are important, the separation of juveniles in use of force studies is an essential component that is lacking in most use of force literature today. Some studies unintentionally imply that adults and juveniles present the same predictors of force by this lack of separation. Age, specifically the status of juveniles and adults, is not a common predictor of police use of force; however, it is one of the most influential factors in shaping a police officer’s decision-making (Brown, Novak, & Frank, 2009).

The current study was designed to address the interactions of police use of force on juveniles. Through quantitative research, the study examined subject characteristics, situational factors, and organizational factors to grasp a better understanding of the types and levels of force police officers use on juveniles. The research concluded that police officers, in this department, only used force in 2.4 percent of the physical arrests and that less force was used on juveniles. The current study can help add to the gap in literature of explaining and understanding the relationships of police officers and juveniles. The study presents a need for further research to examine different avenues of why these police officers used less force on juveniles.

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