Date of Award
Planning and Urban Studies
The New Orleans Police Department history dates back to the 1800’s. Since its inception, the department has been pledged by misconduct, low morale, and low public opinion. This research used Akers Social Structure, and Social learning theory or SSSL to understand the socialization process of the department and determine if the process could attribute for misconduct, the blue wall of silence, and the thin blue line.
A case study was conducted in which twenty former NOPD officers on the department from 1979 to 2004 were interviewed. They were only identified by race, gender, and the number of years on the police department. The interviews were transcribed coded and two themes emerged: “Journey to Blue” and “Cop’s Eyes.”
Journey to Blue, was the transformation process to become a police officer. The steps involved the hiring process, the police academy, field training officers (FTO), mentors, and the early years on the department. Cop’s Eyes was the process of seeing the world as a police officer. It was determined training, experience, and social integrity were integral parts of being able to see the world as a cop. Cop’s Eyes became the way an officer sees the world both on and off-duty, they were not able to turn it on or off.
Further, it was determined, socialization changes throughout decades, socialization influences policy violations, and officers rarely if ever see corruption. The academy was the beginning of the development of cop’s eyes, and field training officers were the primary source of socialization both good and bad. Future research would involve duplicating and comparative analysis of twenty former NOPD officers who were involved in misconduct.
Harrington, Thomas, "Decoding NOPD's Thin Blue Line" (2017). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2378.
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