Term of Award

Fall 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Committee Chair

Amanda Graham

Committee Member 1

Chad Posick

Committee Member 2

Jonathan Grubb


The often controversial nature of police use of force continues to cast law enforcement in a negative light, increasing an already historically tense relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. As cases of police brutality continue to surface, the legitimacy of police personnel continues to decrease, but community member behaviors toward officers are infrequently explored. Questions about the influence of situational, legal, and officer/community member characteristics arise in an attempt to further explore how these factors influence community member compliance. Thus, this study aims to understand police-community relations more clearly, focusing on the effects, if any, that the community member and officer’s sex, race, and ethnicity have regarding police requests. Using data from the 2015 Police Public Contact Survey (PPCS), respondents’ experiences with police officers are used to assess compliance behaviors. Findings suggest that situational and legal characteristics have larger significance regarding compliance than officer and community member characteristics. Therefore, increasing the legitimacy of police departments and the trust that community members have with officers is more essential in increasing voluntary compliance.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material