Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


John Giordano


In an effort to identify barriers to stronger police-youth relationships, this study looks at whether there is a potential contrast in the way police officers and youth view the role of police in communities. An extensive review of literature was conducted to examine how policing practices may influence the way officers view their role in addition to the way youth perceptions of police are shaped. A deficit was revealed in the research on how youth view a police officer’s role, in particular. To answer this question, a sequential explanatory design was implemented. Multi-phase research was conducted through two slightly varying surveys followed by in-person interviews that were completed by 16-24-year-old members of a YouthBuild program and police department, both of which are located in a mid-sized coastal Massachusetts city. Findings showed that the hurdle was not in the way police officers and youth view the role of police, but in the perceptions that youth hold of police in addition to the lack of understanding by police of youth experience in the community. Suggestions are made towards overcoming such hurdles through the implementation of community partnerships with organizations that provide support to local youth. Limitations presented in time allotted for research, number of participants, and the diversity of police officer participants.