Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Law and Justice

Committee Chair

Geraldine O'Mahony

Second Committee Member

Shaffer Claridge

Third Committee Member

Charles E. Reasons


This paper responds to negative public perceptions of United States law enforcement agencies. The research in this paper addresses six areas of policing reforms that have the potential to positively impact police-community relations: (1) building trust and legitimacy, (2) policy and oversight, (3) technology and social media, (4) community policing and crime reduction, (5) officer training and education, and (6) police-media relations. This paper reviews the existing literature in each topic area. The purpose of each literature review is to more accurately understand possible solutions to the widespread distrust of police and the issue of police brutality. This paper makes its own recommendations for how United States law enforcement agencies can successfully improve police-community relations and reduce occurrences of brutality. The recommendations made at the end of this research are applicable to all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies across the country. Ultimately, it is the thesis of this research that improvements to police-community relations will lessen the necessity of police force and effectively reduce brutality.