Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Teresa Bergman

First Committee Member

Jennifer Medel

Second Committee Member

Qingwen Dong


The present study qualitatively investigated law enforcement officers’ opinions on creating more positive relationships with community members and how news media can play a role in deteriorating community attitudes and perceptions of law enforcement officers. A total of six participants were selected to participate in a forty-five-minute interview. Participants were asked questions regarding positive and negative factors in their relationship with their communities, local and national law enforcement portrayals in news media, reforms needed within law enforcement, beliefs toward community policing, and factors that lead to success in their relationships with citizens. This study discovered that building trust, implementing community policing with ample resources, focusing on the value of educating citizens, and implementing various police reforms could lead to building more positive relationships with community members. Concerning media portrayals, the study demonstrated that the most important factors are transparency with news media and the public, implementing multiple forms of social media to stay connected with the public, and news media companies reporting both positive and negative law enforcement stories could lead to creating a more positive public image for law enforcement officers and their agencies.





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