Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Social and Behavioral Science

First Advisor

George Baldwin

Second Advisor

Yong Lao


This research essay aims to understand some of the social themes relevant to issues present between the public and the police institutions of the United States. Existing literature about this topic has noted the decentralized nature of law enforcement in the United States and the differences in policies and procedures used by different police departments and agencies. The existing literature has also cited the importance of police officer discretion and the situational factors that contribute to their decision-making. Occupational stress, and characteristics of a civilian involved in a police interaction, influence the decision-making process for police officers. This research is designed to provide introductory-level information pertaining to this topic for readers that wish to expand their understanding of the police and public dynamic. The research conducted for this research essay was designed to study qualitative literature and to present the relative and most common themes examined across the research process. This research's findings have shown numerous themes related to this issue and topic as a whole. Studying and understanding law enforcement’s relationship with the public is essential because of the authority given to police officers and how this power can be influenced. The powers of the police are that they can protect the public and control crime. The public’s assistance and trust are needed so the police can carry out their duties effectively and preserve safety and security across the US.