Date of Award

Summer 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Brian K. Payne

Committee Member

Victoria Time

Committee Member

Nonso Okereafoezeke

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 B44 2004


The use of firearms by police officers is a subject that has not received much attention in past research. It is a rare occurrence for police officers to have fire their weapon in the line duty, which has also made this area of law enforcement difficult to study. In addition, little data is kept on the extent of firearm use by police officers. Several theories have been proposed to explain firearm use by police officers as well as how officers decide to use their weapon or not.

Ninety-two police officers from the city of Newport News, Virginia completed a survey that looked at firearm use, cynicism, and work alienation. The results support past research that firearm use is a rare occurrence among police officers. Most of the officers had drawn their weapons, but only 20 had fired their weapon in the line of duty. The results of the survey show that the police officers in Newport News enjoy their jobs. In addition, the police officers that have fired their weapons varied 1 little from officers who had not fired their weapons in cynicism. Overall, the use of the firearm did not seem to affect the officers who had to use their weapons in the line of duty.


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