Public Perception of the Police

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Public Perception of the Police

By | November 2008
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Abstract
The media portrayal of policing is filled with both positive and negative representations of police work. As a result, a complex relationship exists between media consumption and public attitudes towards the police. The purpose of this study is to test the impact that media consumption has on attitudes toward police misconduct. The research design proposed for use in this study would be the experimental design, a two-group, posttest-only, randomized experiment.

Introduction
The public impression of police use of force, as brutality, in modern day policing continues to be a sensitive issue for law enforcement agencies across the nation. Police agencies across the United States deal with accusations of misuse of force on a daily basis. Justified or not, images of police utilizing force continue to strike a nerve in the American public. However, police use of force incidents are often misconstrued by the community due to the media frenzy utilizing misrepresentation of facts and propaganda techniques. These techniques undermine the authority of the police and diminish the trust that the community has in its police force. Therefore, because of these few publicized police use of force incidents, the public’s perception of police use of force incidents continues to be seen as negative and brutal. There are several different media forms, and each type might portray the police in different manners. As a result, this research will utilize different media consumption including different types of news reports, to include the internet, different newspaper articles and television newscasts. If the media, defined as the independent variable, would ethically report the true nature of events to the public, defined as the dependent variable, then the public’s perception of police use of force would not be negative and bias.

Background and Literature Review
Numerous incidents of police use of force can be found everyday in law enforcement agencies...
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