Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Giblin, Matthew


Law enforcement administrators are concerned about the levels of public satisfaction with the police as a key to successful policing. Citizens who are satisfied with the police are more willing to provide cooperation with the police that is essential for the organization to reduce crime and serve the community effectively. Existing empirical studies have shown that citizen demographic characteristics and police performance are predictors of satisfaction with the police. The limitation of the previous studies, however, is that they did not consider what police agencies can do, specifically how they change or determine police performance. Without the organizational-level consideration, we may falsely blame individual police officers and their policing activities for the current elevated tension between the public and the police. This research attempts to address the void in the existing literature by introducing an extended theoretical framework that is structured with organizational-level predictors built upon already identified individual-level relationships with public satisfaction with the police.Using the Law Enforcement Organizations (LEO) survey A and Police-Community Interaction (PCI) survey of the National Police Research Platform Phase II, 2013–2015, at the organizational level, the current research examines the indirect associations between organizational characteristics (i.e., transformational leadership and organizational justice) of police agencies and public satisfaction with the police. Police job satisfaction and the proxy measures of police job performance (i.e., satisfaction with the specific police contact and perception of neighborhood safety) are the intervening variables in the relationship. In the current research, the merged data, including 16,547 citizens from 52 police agencies, are used for the analyses. The primary statistical approaches for the examination include factor analyses for the measurement model, bivariate analyses, and Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling (MSEM). The major finding of this research is that organizational justice, which is about the fairness of organizational behaviors, has an indirect association with public satisfaction with the police through police job satisfaction and citizen perceptions of neighborhood safety. This finding indicates that not only are individual police officers who encounter citizens and provide services able to shape citizen perceptions of the police, but police agencies and their administrators are able to actively improve the levels of satisfaction with the police overall.




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