Tara M. Kane

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School

Leadership and Counseling

Committee Member

Raul Leon, PhD

Committee Member

Carmen McCallum, PhD

Committee Member

Paul Leighton, PhD

Committee Member

Rema Reynolds, PhD


This is a case study of suburban community police officers and their perception of benefits of higher education as it relates to outcomes of procedural justice and legitimacy. Acknowledging controversial, high-profile incidents which have caused the police profession to be generalized in a negative manner, this study sought to examine community-policing initiatives as an effective strategy for promoting positive community-police relationships. Community police officers were queried about academic and professional preparation they perceived as necessary for the demands of the 21st century community police officer.

Previous literature on community policing and procedurally just policing has primarily focused on the perceptions of the public. This study hoped to contribute to the literature as the authentic police officer voice. Analysis of the data revealed several themes and found that a redefined model of community policing is a promising answer to restoring trust between the community and the police. This new model shall be referred to as the Procedurally Just Community-Policing Model and concludes that when intentional community-policing efforts are intertwined with procedurally just policing practice, trust is maximized, therefore resulting in legitimacy