Date of Award

Winter 2018

Project Type


Program or Major

Justice Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Katherine Abbott

Second Advisor

Cesar Rebellon

Third Advisor

Karen VanGundy


Police departments across the United States have had tremendous difficulties in recruiting new officers over recent years. Past research has examined factors that motivate people to become police officers but has not examined reasons why people choose not to become police officers. This study aims to identify the college students’ opinions of policing careers. This study evaluates the relationship of views, past interactions, thoughts of prestige, and the role of the media in students’ desire to enter a policing career through a survey and follow-up interviews. Survey results show no statistically significant relationship between views of police and past interactions with police and the desire to become a police officer but a statistically significant relationship between the perceived prestige of the profession and desire to become a police officer. Interview data also suggests that the media influence police career choice among college students in various ways.