Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Felonious Death and Deadly Force: Examining Missouri Police Perceptions through Social Amplification of Risk Framework
by Potratz, Mark S., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2016, 304; 10254301
Abstract (Summary)

In the context of policing, an officer’s risk perception of felonious death and likelihood of using deadly force as a risk response are paramount among police concerns in the United States. Prior research on these topics has predominantly involved macro-analytical methodologies under a mono-disciplinary approach, with limited emphasis on theoretical-based perspectives. Risk perceptions and responses were examined using a quantitative, interdisciplinary correlational methodology. Its purpose was to examine whether the Social Amplification of Risk Framework applied to a specialized occupational population of Missouri police officers. The methodology included a pilot study of an adapted instrument designated the Cognitive Appraisal of Felonious Death Risk questionnaire (CAFDR), followed by a full study using the final form of the CAFDR. The participants were full time Missouri police officers. A total of 192 surveys were completed, from which 154 surveys were randomly selected for analyses. Key findings indicated that only two of the 30 permutations of the analyses reached statistical significance. Those two outcomes equated with extant literature while the remaining results largely contradicted the contemporary literature on the influence of these covariates. The result was that Social Amplification of Risk Framework did not explain the relationships between risk perceptions and risk responses in this specialized occupational population. What was discovered concerns the influence that socio-cultural, legal, and psychological influences from controversial police shooting events may have on these Missouri officers. Results of the debriefing questionnaire portion revealed significant psychological resilience among the officers, but raised the possibility that a stigma associated with accessing mental health services was present within police cultures. Practical application recommendations involved the development of policies and training paradigms that recognize/mitigate aberrations in risk perception and response, bench-marking force tendencies and unconscious risk bias among officers as a management tool, and use of these findings under an interactive educational tool for police-community outreach. Future theoretical research opportunities include a hypotheses-testing model under Social Amplification of Risk Framework employing a qualitative methodology, and exploration of perception/response anomalies as a form of occupational delinquency under Differential Association.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mika, Eva
Commitee: Gambino, Thomas
School: Northcentral University
Department: School of Business and Technology Management
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 78/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sociology, Criminology
Keywords: Deadly force, Felonious death, Police, Risk perception, Social amplification of risk, Use of force
Publication Number: 10254301
ISBN: 9781369509526