Bias Among Law Enforcement Officers Research Paper


Survey Research Data

The research question for this survey is: What are the psychological biases and tendencies apparent within the law enforcement community that influence their decisions to engage in more aggressive behavior towards minorities, defined as arrest related deaths or death while in police custody, and less aggressive behavior towards those who are white or of similar race.

The hypothesis is: Social dominance theory along with cognitive and behavior biases adversely contribute to police behavior towards minorities.

The data table to be used is the arrest-related deaths program which is a national census of individuals who have died in the process of an arrest. The date also provides information related to those who have died in the custody of state and local law enforcement. The link to this data is:

The data tables show that from 2003 to 2009 a total of 4813 deaths were reported to the program. Of reported arrest-related deaths, 61% (2,931) were classified as homicides by law enforcement personnel, 11% (541) were suicides, 11% (525) were due to intoxication, 6% (272) were accidental injuries, and 5% (244) were attributed to natural causes.

Among reported arrest-related deaths, 42% of persons were white, 32% were black, and 20% were Hispanic.

Survey research is typically conducted by creating a survey that can be statistically computed using a Likert scale, with 0 representing one extreme and a higher number such as 5 representing the opposite extreme. Survey participants will respond to the survey statements by selecting the numerical value that best represents their answer, with 0 usually representing a negative response, such as Not at all, and 5 representing an affirmative response, such as Always. This type of data collection method is helpful for obtaining responses from a wide sample, whereas interview methodologies usually require that the researcher focus on a small sample of participants for practical purposes. The survey should be piloted, however, to ensure that the statements can retrieve the kind of answers that will help the researcher to address the hypothesis.

The survey used above was conducted by using self-reporting agencies that experienced one or more deaths to estimate the number of arrest-related deaths in a particular calendar year (Banks...…could provide deeper insight into the research topic. The combination of data methods creates a fuller and often more complex picture of the problem that can further future research.

A focus group is good because it provides room for discussion and a place where questions may be asked and answered prior to the survey. For the purpose of understanding implicit bias within law enforcement, the participants will be asked to take the Harvard Implicit Bias test that can be taken online. This will provide the research will suitable data for addressing the hypothesis. The challenge will be obtaining enough law enforcement officers to make the sample size suitable so that it can yield generalizeable results that might be able to say something about the wider population of law enforcement officers. Thus, the major con of conducting a focus group is that it requires appealing to participants and getting them to want to take part in the survey. Some incentive may have to be offered them for this purpose, or else the researcher risks not having anyone show up to be part…

Sources Used in Documents:


Banks, D., Couzens, L., Blanton, C. & Cribb, D. (2015). Arrest-related deaths programassessment. Retrieved from

James, L. (2018). The Stability of Implicit Racial Bias in Police Officers. Police Quarterly, 21(1), 30-52.

Morgan, P., Hatcher, S., & Maschi, T. (2009). Etiology of implicit driven bias shootings: Utilizing a purposive, non-impulsive model for social work practice. Journal of Behavior in the Social Environment, 19, 635-645.

Cite this Document:

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