Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Joshua Hinkle

Second Advisor

Dr. Dean Dabney

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark Reed


In recent years, high-profile cases of police violence have garnered national debate around the future of policing and how it will address racial/ethnic bias. Current police recruiting campaigns target diversity, hiring racially and ethnically diverse officers, as a solution to the ongoing tensions between officers and the ethnically/racially diverse communities they serve. Consequently, bias is present in all Americans, as race has culturally constructed American society. This research questions the reliability of an officer's racial/ethnic status as catalysts of change for biases present in police organizations and police practices. More so, this research prompts using diverse experiences from childhood and adolescence as markers of possible implicit bias and internalized prejudice. Police officers from a southeastern city are assessed on their exposure to diversity as children/adolescents. Officers are also assessed using the Harvard Race Implicit Association Test (IAT), which evaluates their levels of implicit racial bias. The Exposure to Diversity Scale (EDS) is constructed to identify diverse experiences throughout childhood and adolescence (primary socialization) that may influence an individual's internalization of prejudice and impact their implicit bias scores. The relationship between the EDS and Harvard's Race Implicit Association Test (IAT) is investigated using bivariate analysis. In conclusion, officers with more diverse experiences tended to have lower levels of implicit racial bias. Experiences with Black police officers, Black businessmen and women, and Black community leaders were negatively significant with IAT scores.

File Upload Confirmation