Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Discipline

Juvenile Justice


Police officers rely on citizen cooperation to effectively perform their job duties. Studies have shown that many encounters between police and youth are influenced by extralegal factors, such as police perceptions of youths' attitudes and youth perceptions of police. In the last 10 years in the United States, too many youths have experienced excessive police force, resulting in serious physical injuries or death. The current study explored the perceptions of youth and young adults regarding their encounters with the police in the United States using largely unexplored datasets, which adds to its uniqueness from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) police–public contact surveys (PPCS) conducted in 2018 and 2020. The study drew on Austin Turk's theory of norm resistance (1969) and the model of police legitimacy process by Mazerolle et al. (2013). Various statistical analyses, including the chi-square test of independence, binary logistic regression, and multinomial logistic regression, addressed five research questions and tested eight hypotheses.

The findings suggested that young adults, aged 18-24 years, from a lower socioeconomic status had more odds of being satisfied with the police than the reference category youth of (16-17 years). The higher socioeconomic status, those from families with incomes of $75,000 or more, category significantly affected willingness to cooperate with the police. Youth and young adults who encountered medium levels of aggression from the police were more likely to be dissatisfied with the police.

Compared to a male officer, when youth and young adults interacted with a female police officer, they were less likely to select the "just as likely to contact" category concerning the "more likely to contact" category. Satisfaction with the police, willingness to cooperate with the police, and specific levels of police aggression were all found to have a significant association with the likelihood of contacting the police in the future. The study's findings provide valuable insights into how young people perceive their interactions with police officers. This information benefits individuals in the criminal justice field, including students, academics, and policy experts, seeking comprehensive data and a broader understanding of the topic.

Keywords: perceptions, encounters with the police, youth, young adults, BJS data

Committee Chair/Advisor

Camille Gibson

Committee Member

Nabil Ouassini

Committee Member

Shantae Motley

Committee Member

Gbolahan Solomon Osho


Prairie View A&M University


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View




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