Racial, Socioeconomic, and Regional Effects on Perception of Law Enforcement Uniforms

  • Braden Westby (Iowa State University)


The tension between law enforcement officers and civilians has been increasing in recent years. Some of this can be attributed to how civilians react to the appearance of the officers patrolling them. Another aspect of this heightening of tension can be linked to officer performance decreasing due to environmental conditions. This study investigates how civilians feel when officers are wearing different uniforms and have different racial presentations. These sentiments were measured across eight different emotional responses and cross-referenced against archived data about how officers performed when assessing emotion in different body armor configurations. This data was gathered via email responses sent out to civilian populations through contacts in law enforcement agencies and community groups. The survey was distributed through these channels to get a varied understanding of individuals who will have interactions with officers and the officers themselves. Our findings are showing trends we believe will positively affect the interactions between civilians and law enforcement officers.



Published on
04 Mar 2022