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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Implicit bias and discrimination in the police department can lead to devastating effects for people of color in racially diverse urban and suburban areas. However, there is very little research on the racial attitudes and assumptions that aspiring police recruits and other criminal justice professionals have about people of color who reside in inner cities and diverse communities. This study focused on assessing cultural awareness and motivation to control prejudiced reactions in a self-selected group of criminal justice undergraduate college students to see what bias they may have prior to entering the police department. Students completed a survey that included the following measures: (a) a demographic questionnaire, (b) Cultural Competence Self-Assessment Questionnaire (CC); and (c) The Motivation to Control Prejudiced Reactions Scale (MCPR). A sample population of 38 students completed the online survey. The researcher conducted descriptive and inferential statistics to answer the research questions that guided this study. The results indicated a positive relationship between the CC and the MCPR; the motivation to control the prejudiced reaction increased as cultural competence increased. Furthermore, CC accounted for 33% of the variance in MCPR, indicating that enhanced cultural awareness contributes to lower levels of biased reactions. The participants’ more diverse experiences in terms of exchanges with people from other cultures and races could explain this enhanced CC. The scores on both scales were also compared by gender, ethnicity, and place of origin, where both CC and MCPR scores were significantly higher for female students than males. This quantitative study contributes to the field by identifying potential gaps in criminal justice education that could be used to enhance the cultural competency of future police officers and other criminal justice professionals who serve communities of color. The researcher included ideas for future research.

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