Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-8-2017

Major Department or Program



Gilbert Mireles; Keith Farrington; Chuck Cleveland


This study explores how changing community-police relations due to high-profile incidents between police and African Americans might be leading to higher crime rates. The goal is to show how this phenomenon, coined 'The Ferguson Effect', could be developing from a lack of legitimacy in law enforcement leading to a lack of effectiveness in policing and therefore higher crime rates. Data was gathered through interviews with police officers from law enforcement agencies across Washington State in order to provide first-hand accounts of the police perspective regarding this social issue. The interviews concluded that although crime rates may not be reflecting the rise in crime the Ferguson Effect alludes to, police are still affected by negative community relations in their every day encounters. Furthermore, if tensions continue to rise, the progress in the liberalization and advancement of policing might slow, come to an end, or even shift back to more archaic styles of policing. This research is important to cultivating a dialogue between police and the public in order to understand more perspectives and start looking forward to further social progress for race relations within U.S. law enforcement.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Police -- Tension, Police-community relations, Ferguson (Mo.) -- Ferguson Effect, Race relations -- 21st century, Law enforcement -- Scrutiny, Public opinion, Social impact, Public safety, Police -- Safety, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Sociology Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Whitman Community Accessible Thesis



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