Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF Todd D. Sigler, for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education Administration Higher Education, presented on October 28, 2011, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR AND CAMPUS PUBLIC ORDER POLICING: A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF MIXED-ISSUE CAMPUS DISTURBANCES AT THREE MIDWEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Kathryn Ann Hytten The purpose of this qualitative study analyzed mixed-issue campus disturbance events at three similar public universities located in the Midwest region of the United States. Using a case study research design, the analysis draws from interviews conducted with campus police officers employed at the selected institutions assigned to work one or more disturbances during the last decade. A related purpose analyzed the element of space/location and territoriality where these disturbances occurred, including an assessment of the value and meaning of space to the police and how police use space to achieve public order maintenance objectives. As the primary social control agent, the police - through their interface with crowd participants - can influence positive or negative relationships that subsequently impact disturbance outcomes. The research methodology incorporated naturalistic qualitative methods including: (1) one-on-one interviews of 15 campus police officers - both front-line police officers and command officers divided among three campuses; (2) open source public documents such as task force reports and newspaper articles; and (3) closed-source documents, such as unpublished pre- and post-action reports completed by law enforcement or campus administration. Finally, I conducted field research observations of the disturbance locations combined with my own experience in campus law enforcement. Among some of the important findings are the importance of officer experience, consistent and recent training for officers in both traditional crowd control tactics, as well as crowd management skills, especially communication (accomplished through techniques such as dialogue policing and social media technology to recognize and mitigate triggering behaviors on both sides. Additional public order policing tactics include recognizing the importance of territoriality and the value of mitigating tactics such as crowd combing, and controlling space to reduce density. This study will support law enforcement officials in higher education with planning, developing and responding proactively to disturbances using public order policing strategies suitable for campus communities. Special emphasis is placed on the elaborated social identity model and the negotiated management model to explain police and crowd behaviors. Of value to crowd management practitioners is the critical need to interface crowd theory with practical public order policing techniques to develop an effective response.
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