Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Katherine Novak


Police officers play a very important role in their communities, considering they need to interact with the public in order to carry out their duties. For that reason, the relationship between the public and police officers has been the focus of many studies. The current study analyzed data from the 2011 Police-Public Contact Survey (n= 49,246). The study was conducted in three separate parts - the relationship between individual demographic characteristics and type of contact with the police, individual demographic characteristics and perceptions of police, and type of contact with the police and perceptions of the police. The results from this study were consistent with previous findings from studies that used smaller populations, as it was found that women were more likely to have voluntary contact with police than men, non-Hispanics had more voluntary contact with police than those of Hispanic Origin, women reported more positive perceptions of police, there was a positive relationship between age and perception of the police, and those who had voluntary contact had a more positive perception of police officers than those who had involuntary contact.