Intended Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctorate in Public Administration (DPA)


Dr. Kristen Norman-Major,


Dr. Louis Kaluza

Committee Member

Dr. Anne Cross


This research was intended to contribute to this debate and its policy implications by examining whether students entering a law enforcement degree program hold predetermined beliefs and values that are significantly different from their classmates not entering law enforcement careers and that vary among themselves according to age, race, or gender. Over 5 years, a 30-question survey of 28 classes regarding current criminal justice issues and debates was conducted among 833 students taking an introductory-level criminal justice course at a mid-western university.

The data strongly supported the research hypothesis that beginning law enforcement students held different beliefs and values than their non-law enforcement counterparts in all four topic areas addressed: perceptions of police and police power, perceptions of the courts and government, issues of punishment and justice, and individual rights and responsibilities. They also revealed that the responses of minority law enforcement students varied quite significantly from those of Anglo law enforcement students to nearly half of the questions. The data did not demonstrate significant differences among law enforcement students according to age, and the only significant difference attributable to gender was that female law enforcement students were less likely to favor the death penalty. The study discusses the policy and educational implications of these findings and offers suggestions for future research.








School of Business Student Theses and Dissertations