To trust or not to trust: Examining trust and perceptions of police in the United States

dc.contributor.advisor Hochstetler, Andrew
dc.contributor.advisor Shelley, Mack
dc.contributor.advisor Burgason, Kyle
dc.contributor.advisor DeLisi, Matthew
dc.contributor.advisor Behnken, Monic
dc.contributor.author Cabage, LeAnn Nicole
dc.contributor.department Sociology en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2023-08-25T19:20:11Z
dc.date.available 2023-08-25T19:20:11Z
dc.date.issued 2023-08
dc.date.updated 2023-08-25T19:20:11Z
dc.description.abstract The trust between people of color and law enforcement is marked by conflict. From the early history of slavery to the convict lease system to modern day, the American system of justice failed communities and people of color. This historical relationship combined with the acquittals or the failure to charge in police abuse of force incidents, such as Alton Sterling has contributed to the erosion in the level of trust individuals have in law enforcement. This dissertation examines the factors that contribute to the level of trust one has in law enforcement. These factors include race, age, gender, education level, and political leaning. In addition, the study examines the relationship between the decline in other forms of institutional trust, such as political trust and media trust. The final purpose of the dissertation is to determine if an individual’s level of police trust combined with other variables determines who believes a police shooting is justified or not. The findings indicate men, younger individuals, and those with lower levels of education are more likely to have higher levels of political trust. Media trust is predicted by age. Older individuals are more likely to have higher levels of media trust. Police trust is predicted by gender, race, age, and education. Men, whites, younger individuals, and those with lower levels of education are more likely to trust the police. Additionally, the findings conclude that Seyd political trust, police trust, and political leaning are significant predictors of who is most likely to believe police corruption is systemic. Individuals with lower levels of police trust are more likely to believe police corruption is systemic. The more liberal leaning an individual is, the more likely they are to believe police corruption is a systemic issue. Individuals with lower levels of political trust are more likely to believe police corruption is a systemic issue. Examining whether other forms of trust predict police trust, the findings indicate police trust is positively related to both measures of political trust. The relationship between police trust and media trust is negative. The final research question asks whether trust and predictors of trust shape interpretations of police shootings. Although not significant, those who have higher levels of police and political trust are more likely to believe the force used against Alton Sterling is justified. Having lower levels of media trust is a significant predictor. That is, those who have lower levels of media trust are less likely to believe the force was justified. Conservative leaning individuals are more likely than liberal leaning individuals to believe the force is justified. Finally, men and white individuals are more likely to believe the force is justified. These findings add to the existing knowledge and provide valuable insight for future research.
dc.format.mimetype PDF
dc.identifier.doi https://doi.org/10.31274/td-20240329-807
dc.identifier.uri https://dr.lib.iastate.edu/handle/20.500.12876/OrD8doDr
dc.language.iso en
dc.language.rfc3066 en
dc.subject.disciplines Criminology en_US
dc.subject.keywords Police Trust en_US
dc.subject.keywords Police Use of Force en_US
dc.title To trust or not to trust: Examining trust and perceptions of police in the United States
dc.type article en_US
dc.type.genre dissertation en_US
dspace.entity.type Publication
thesis.degree.discipline Criminology en_US
thesis.degree.grantor Iowa State University en_US
thesis.degree.level dissertation $
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy en_US
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