Spring 5-5-2016

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


This is a capstone research project used to gain knowledge on the California Highway Patrol’s use of deadly force policy as well as how community-oriented policing programs work to lower the crime rate so an officer doesn’t resort to using deadly force. The research asked three questions: 1) What is the policy or policies in California that deem an officer’s use of deadly force as justifiable or not justifiable? 2) How do these policies affect how officers perform on the job? 3) Are there any programs within the Salinas Police Department that work within the community to help reduce the crime rates? I use American sociologist Herbert George Blumer’s theory of symbolic interactionism to analyze an officer’s implementation of deadly force, and to explain agency program’s interactions with community members. The findings for my research are based on a review of relevant literature, interviews I conducted with representatives of the CHP and the Salinas Police Department, and personal observations in the course of a service learning project with the Salinas Police Department. In my analysis, I compare the responses of the CHP officers in relation to one another, and I analyze the response of the SPD Sergeant.