Jonathan Knuckey


The relationship between law enforcement and the public has recently come under scrutiny after a number of high-profile deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police officers. The ensuing public outcry has given way to a wide-ranging debate about the origins of such tension and why it has continued to manifest with such vigor despite apparent progress. This research attempts to uncover the underpinnings of this tension through a historical review of the development of the law enforcement institution and the narrative of crime in society. Specifically, this research investigates the role of federalization and politicization on crime and its impact on the relationship between law enforcement and the public. My findings suggest that the politicization of crime has created a false narrative that distorts the racial and class composition of crime, unnecessarily favors use of force and confrontational contact with the public, and compromises the integrity of crime statistics and their collection. This false narrative undermines the core objective of law enforcement — public safety — and negatively impacts institutional goals and mindset, the implications of which reach beyond the police to society at large and the policies that define criminality and shape crime control.

About the Author

Komysha Hassan is a dual major in Political Science and Writing and Rhetoric with a minor in Economics and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). She is looking forward to going to law school where she can apply her rhetorical skills to craft a more equitable and just public policy that serves the public interest. When she isn't studying, you can catch her playing chess or watching a lively soccer game.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.