The objective of the current study was to evaluate factors that may affect law enforcement officer’s attitudes toward the mentally ill. Through the use of a self-administered questionnaire officers in California, Colorado and Florida reported their perceptions of mental illness, specialized training they received, and any personal or family experiences with mental illness. Our findings suggest officers that reported having a parent who is mentally ill were more likely to have positive attitudes in comparison to officers who did not have these relationships. We also found limited support for a gender difference in attitudes towards mental illness with female officers reporting more positive attitudes. Although we did find some significant results in support of our hypotheses we believe our sample size of 93 active LEOs needs to be greatly expanded to draw solid conclusions.
Student Author Biography
Ashley Montano is a senior who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology, a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a minor in Psychology from Florida Southern College. She is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ashley has held various leadership positions on campus including the Vice President of Chapter Relations and Standards for Alpha Chi Omega, the Treasurer for Women’s Advocacy Club, and Captain for the Florida Southern Women’s Cross Country and Track team. She became interested in various areas of research within the criminal justice system and plans on pursuing a Masters of Criminology with a strong focus on research, public policy, and administration. Brooke Barfield is a senior who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology from Florida Southern College. She is originally from Conway, South Carolina. Brooke became interested on the perspectives of the mentally ill in law enforcement after taking a Criminalization of Mental Illness course. After graduating, she will be in the Army Reserves as a second lieutenant and plans to work for a federal agency.
Montano, Ashley N. and Barfield, Brooke
"Attitudes Toward Mental Illness: A Study Among Law Enforcement Officers in the South and Southwest United States,"
Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research: Vol. 6
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.northgeorgia.edu/papersandpubs/vol6/iss1/11
Ashley Montano Brooke Barfield 5/8/2017