Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Law and Justice

Committee Chair

Cody Stoddard

Second Committee Member

Jillian Desmond

Third Committee Member

Michael Harrod


Understanding the public perceptions of police is not a new topic, but it is one that has not focused on that of university students. This current study aims to fill the gap in knowledge by comparing student’s perceptions of two different police departments; traditional hometown police departments and special district police. This study targeted a specific population, college students, that needs additional research to understand what factors contribute to their perceptions of police. This study gathered students’ perceptions of police using an email survey of all on-campus students in a regional state university. Using OLS regression, I was able to see the effect of select variables, like race, gender, living on/off campus, fear of crime on campus, social cohesion on perceptions of police. This study found that effectiveness, social cohesion, race, and sexual orientation was statistically significant and positively associated with the dependent variable.