Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication/TheatreArts

Committee Director

Thomas J. Socha

Committee Member

Frances Hassencahl

Committee Member

Tim J. Anderson

Abstract

This thesis examines intercultural communication training and law enforcement education at the local level by means of a qualitative case study. Emphasis is given to the role of perceptions in law enforcement/community interactions as a means of understanding current relations between groups, as well as the role that cultural understanding of this should play in the creation of training curricula. There is a greater societal issue relative to interactions between minorities and law enforcement, and this research seeks to highlight how training, specifically training related to intercultural communication, can be impactful toward increasing understanding and mending group relations.

For this study, officer interviews were conducted as the primary means of data gathering. However, training materials, as well as information gained from participant/observation in a community panel, were also utilized during this research. Results indicate that not only are intercultural communication training and bias-awareness training a part of law enforcement curricula, but also that these topics were well received by officers participating in the case study. While some challenges are noted, overall, the participating police department and officers showed consistently moderate to high levels of cultural and bias-awareness, as well as a consistent focus on the community.

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