First Advisor

Melissa Thompson

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Critical whiteness studies, Prejudice, Perception, Racial profiling in law enforcement -- Oregon -- Case studies, Discrimination in law enforcement -- Oregon -- Case studies, Police training -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- Case studies, Race awareness -- Oregon -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 105 p.) : col. ill.


Four fatal shootings, during police interactions, of unarmed people-of-color occurred in the Portland, Oregon Metro Area from 2003 to 2010 calling into question from members of the community whether or not the officers involved and hence their representative police departments had been racially profiling. Of interest in this study is whether or not cutting edge anti-racial profiling police officer trainings have an impact on how officers in Oregon perceive members of racial minority groups. A review of literature found that previous inquiries into racial prejudice among police officers may be present and that previous efforts to address racial ethics in law enforcement have had mixed results on officer perceptions of race. Using Whiteness Theory an examination was undertaken in Oregon utilizing a mixed methodological approach to answer three questions; 1) Do police officers report their perceptions of people-of-color being impacted as a result of participating in a racial profiling training seminar?, 2) Do police officers from the state of Oregon express having held a perception of members of the racial / ethnic community as individuals prior to attending a racial profiling training?, and 3) Do police officers from the state of Oregon report having held a stereotyped perception of racial / ethnic community members before attending a racial profiling training? Findings include that some officers may be racially prejudiced and others not, but that the training, according to those participating was not impactful upon their personal perceptions of people-of-color for reasons that they saw none or little personal bias within themselves although the seminar they attended brought police - race issues back into their conscious awareness. Despite the training being well-received by all the participants they suggested the training title and description may have dissuaded other officers from attending who may have benefited from its content and format. Transferability of the data's findings is weak due to a small sample size and other limitations of the study discussed. Nevertheless, conclusions about the effectiveness of the racial-profiling-training-under-review's ability to impact these officers' perceptions and attitudes of people-of-color are made and recommendations for police and social policy as well as suggestions for future research are discussed.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Sociology

Persistent Identifier