Sociology “for njosh only” | Sociology homework help


Each student will complete TWO response papers. The purpose of this activity is to ensure that students can read, understand and analyze an academic paper.  Papers are attached below.  You may choose any two of the papers to analyze.  Due dates are listed on the course syllabus and the rubric for the two papers is on your Moodle site.  The response papers will be weighted at 20 points each, or 40% of the total grade.


How many climate migrants will there be?

By Hannah BarnesBBC News

·       2 September 2013

If politicians are to be believed, migration caused by climate change will cause the world huge problems. One of the latest to repeat the warning is UK shadow immigration minister Chris Bryant, who, like many others before him, said 200 million people may be forced to flee their country. But how reliable is this figure?

In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Chris Bryant warned that millions of people around the world could be forced to leave their homes over the next few decades and move to countries less affected by environmental problems.

“If we get climate change wrong there is a very real danger we shall see levels of mass migration as yet unparalleled,” he said.

“The United Nations (UN) estimates that in 2008 20 million people were displaced by climate change.”

In the longer term, he said, “you can imagine that the UN estimates of 200 million such refugees, more than the total number of worldwide migrants today, may be about right”.

We cannot comment in any way on the accuracy of a figure we did not produceUN spokesperson

The MP told the BBC it would be inaccurate to say he “warned that climate change will create 200 million migrants”. He added, however: “It would be accurate to say that I argued that we have to tackle the push factors that affect migration such as climate change as otherwise the numbers who are made environmental refugees may reach the estimate of 200 million.”

But how were these estimates calculated, and is the future really that bleak?

Let’s take the 20 million first.

Alex Randall may seem on paper the kind of person who would agree with figures like this – he works for the Climate Outreach and Information Network, a charity which aims to raise awareness of climate refugees and their needs.

In fact he is critical. The 20 million figure, he suggests, is reached by “adding up all of the people who’ve been displaced by any kind of natural disaster and labelling them climate refugees.” And that, in his view, is problematic.

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“It’s certainly true that climate change might be making some of those particular disasters more likely. But it’s certainly not the case that we can attribute all of those individual displacements to climate change alone,” Randall says.

It’s also wrong to infer that people affected by a natural disaster will inevitably migrate, he suggests.

“People tend to move short distances for a short period of time,” he says. “And then move back.”

So, what of the estimate that there could be 200 million climate refugees by 2050?

This figure has travelled far and wide. It was noted in the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, was mentioned by thepresident of the UN General Assembly in 2008, and has been cited by numerous NGOs.

It comes from research papers by Oxford-based scientist Prof Norman Myers – including one published in 1995 and another in 2005.

The disappearing map

Another claim made by Norman Myers, that 50 million people would become climate refugees by 2010, was shown in 2011 to have been wrong – leading the UN Environment Programme to drop a map illustrating the idea from its website.

The caption read: “Fifty million climate refugees by 2010… There is general agreement about the current global environmental and development crisis. It is also known that the consequences of these global changes have the most devastating impacts on the poorest…”

Initially no explanation was given for the disappearance, just a bizarre error message: “Dear visitor, it seems like the map you are navigating by is maybe not fully up-to-date, or that it might have an error in it, or is it that your GPS is not loaded with the correct data? We are just taking the scenic route, darling! See Honey, We’re not lost. I know where we are: This way I think… mmm!”

A UNEP spokesman did eventually tell the BBC that the map had been removed because it was wrong. The curious can still download it from the website of the GRID-Arendal centre, established by the Norwegian government.

Some academics, however, have doubted Myers’ numbers from the start. Speaking to the BBC in 2011, Stephen Castles from Oxford University’s International Migration Institute, suggested that Myers’ “objective in putting forward these dramatic projections was to really scare public opinion and politicians into taking action on climate change”.

While this was “a very laudable motive”, he said, there were major problems with the method Myers had used to make his projections.

In the long run I do believe very strongly that it will better for us to find that we have been roughly right than precisely wrongNorman Myers

“He simply took a map of the world, worked out what areas would be inundated if the sea rose, say by 50cm, and then simply assumed that all the people affected by this sea level rise would have to migrate – and that a lot of them would migrate to developed countries. Really there was no basis for it.”

One reason why Myers’ figures have been so widely repeated may be that the UN itself has helped give them credibility.

But last week the UN told the BBC that it “cannot comment in any way on the accuracy of a figure we did not produce”.

Even the website of the Biodiversity Institute at Oxford University, at which Norman Myers is listed as an associate researcher, states that his work on environmental refugees “is widely viewed as lacking academic credibility“.

But speaking to the BBC in 2011 Norman Myers defended his methods.

“It’s really difficult to say how many there are and where are they… but in the long run I do believe very strongly that it will be better for us to find that we have been roughly right than precisely wrong.”

Prof Myers also makes clear in his research that not everyone he classes as an environmental refugee will flee their country – they could be forced to move somewhere else within the national boundaries.

He also told the BBC that science was “never ever completely final – it’s always a bit iffy”. He added: “I think it would be much harder to demonstrate that there aren’t any of these environmental refugees than to demonstrate that there are environmental refugees.”

Equally, Stephen Castles did not deny that some people had been and would in future be forced to move country. In this category he put the inhabitants of some Pacific islands.

Think Today’s Refugee Crisis is Bad? Climate Change Will Make it a Lot Worse

Elliott Negin, Union of Concerned Scientists | June 30, 2015 12:58 pm | Comments

Last year was the worst year on record for refugees. The number of people fleeing war and persecution jumped to nearly 60 million, the highest figure since the United Nations’ refugee agency began keeping records 50 years ago, and that doesn’t even include people driven from their homes by poverty, gang violence or natural disasters.

“Climate change is going to compound the cocktail that’s driving war and displacement.” Photo credit: Shutterstock

Smugglers are preying on refugees, social services in poor Middle Eastern and African countries have been stretched to the limit, and Europe and Australia are turning back exiles at their borders. António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, acknowledged that relief agencies are overwhelmed. “We don’t have the capacity and we don’t have the resources to support all the victims of conflict around the world to provide them with the very minimal level of protection and assistance,” he told reporters at a mid-June press conference.

By all accounts, it’s a mess. But it’s likely only a harbinger of things to come if industrialized nations don’t dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Drought and desertification already ruin thousands of square miles of productive land annually in China and a number of African countries, while rising sea levels triggered by warmer global temperatures could eventually force tens if not hundreds of millions of people from their coastal homes.

“One of the drivers of displacement and potential conflict over the next 10 to 20 years will be climate [change]-resource scarcity,” David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee and a former UK foreign minister, said recently. “Climate change is going to compound the cocktail that’s driving war and displacement.”

Global Sea Levels Are Rising Faster

The global average sea level has gone up approximately 8 inches since 1880, but scientists expect it to rise at a much faster rate over the next century. Projections of sea level rise by 2100 range from 1 and a half feet to 6 and a half feet, depending on how quickly land-based glaciers melt and how quickly industrialized countries rein in carbon emissions.

Based on that range, a 2011 study in the British Royal Society’s scientific journal estimated that 72 million to 187 million people would be displaced by 2100 if no action were taken to upgrade coastal defenses. The study projects that small islands and coastal communities in Africa and parts of Asia, which are less likely to have the resources to install costly barriers, are the places most likely to be abandoned.

A 2007 study in Environment and Urbanization, meanwhile, used satellite data to identify coastal areas less than 30 feet above sea level. The study authors then analyzed census figures from 224 countries. Their finding? Some 634 million people inhabit these low-lying areas. That’s 10 percent of the world’s population crammed into only 2 percent of the world’s land mass. Two-thirds of the world’s largest cities—those with more than 5 million residents—are at least partially located there.

The study also found the 10 countries with the largest share of their populations in low-elevation coastal zones are Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and the United States. Climate exile is already a reality in Bangladesh, where millions of people have emigrated northward to escape chronic flooding in the Bay of Bengal’s low-lying river deltas. Scientists predict the country will lose 17 percent of its land to rising sea levels by 2050, potentially displacing as many as 20 million people.

Climate exile is also front and center for a number of small island nations, including the Carteret Islands in the South Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The Carteret Islands, a part of Papua New Guinea, began evacuating back in 2009. The Maldives government, meanwhile, is still trying to find a suitable place to move its 380,000 residents before rising sea levels overwhelm its 26 atolls.

Flooding Now the Norm on U.S. East and Gulf Coasts

The United States is bound to have its share of refugees, too, given everybody wants to live near the water. In 2010, more than 123 million people—39 percent of the U.S. population—lived in coastal counties, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And NOAA expects the U.S. coastal population to jump 8 percent, to 133 million, by 2020.

Sea level rise isn’t uniform along coastlines, and over the last century or so a number of East Coast locations have experienced greater than average increases. New York City, for example, has seen a 17-inch rise since 1856, while the sea level off Baltimore’s coast has gone up 13 inches since 1902. These higher levels have led to regular flooding in cities up and down the coast.

Right now most of that flooding is relatively minor, but scientists say it is going to get a lot worse. An October 2014 Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report that looked at NOAA tide gauges in 52 municipalities along the East and Gulf coasts found that most could experience three times as many high-tide floods annually in the next 15 years and 10 times as many in 30 years. By 2045, many coastal communities are expected to see a sea level rise of about a foot. If that happens, a third of the 52 locations in the UCS study—including Baltimore, Miami and Philadelphia—would begin to average more than 180 tidal floods a year. Nine cities, including Annapolis, Atlantic City and Washington, DC, would suffer more than 240 tidal floods annually, some quite damaging.

Alaskans are already facing a much more dire situation. The Arctic is warming at a rate of nearly twice the global average, and over the last 50 years Alaska has warmed 3.4 degrees F, which has thawed permafrost and triggered shore erosion.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported in 2009 that most of the more than 200 native villages in Alaska had been experiencing flooding and erosion due to climate change for some time. Government officials have identified 31 villages that are particularly at risk, and at least eight of them have elected to relocate or explore relocation options, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Home to about 350 people, Newtok is furthest along with its relocation efforts. The village, which sits on the Bering Sea coast, found a new site roughly 9 miles away and has obtained some state and federal funds to begin construction there. Even so, cost is a major sticking point. The GAO estimates the price tag for moving the village could run as high as $130 million.

How to Best Protect Coastal Communities

Carbon stays in the atmosphere for decades, so even if every country switched completely to carbon-free energy sources today, sea level rise and tidal flooding would continue to worsen. We can only hope that the world’s industrialized nations can reach an agreement on curbing emissions at the upcoming international climate meeting in Paris. Even if they do, nations, states and localities will face a formidable task in protecting their coasts.

A number of U.S. cities and government agencies are taking steps to safeguard communities. Miami Beach and Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia, for example, are upgrading their drainage systems to prevent seawater from backing up and overflowing streets. Norfolk, Virginia, is turning some of its coastal parks into wetlands to buffer storms. And the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has installed “door dams” to shield building entrances from flooding.

UCS’s 2014 report focused on U.S. coasts, but its recommendations for defending coastlines can be applied just about anywhere. They include flood-proofing homes, neighborhoods, and sewer and stormwater systems; curbing development in areas susceptible to tidal flooding; and installing sea walls, natural buffers and other infrastructure. Many of those measures are going to be very expensive, however, so there’s no way local communities can go it alone. State, national and even international funding will have to play a major role.

There has been much hand wringing of late about the plight of U.S. infrastructure. Years of neglect have resulted in crumbling roads and bridges, outdated airports, broken water systems, and accident-prone mass transit. Curiously, the debate over this long-festering problem does not include the looming threat of climate change-induced sea level rise. It’s a scenario that is playing itself out here and around the world, and some say it will change the face of the planet.

“This will be the largest migration in history,” predicts Edward Cameron, a former director of the World Resources Institute’s International Climate Initiative who has advised the Maldives. “This is not a migration as we’ve known it before.”

With potentially hundreds of millions of climate refugees seeking safe haven in the decades to come, the time to address this impending crisis is now.

Elliott Negin is a senior writer at the Union of Concerned Scientists.


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June 7, 2015

Kalief Browder, 1993–2015

By Jennifer Gonnerman


Kalief Browder spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. After he was released, he struggled with mental health, and he eventually took his own life.

Last fall, I wrote about a young man named Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. He had been arrested in the spring of 2010, at age sixteen, for a robbery he insisted he had not committed. Then he spent more than one thousand days on Rikers waiting for a trial that never happened. During that time, he endured about two years in solitary confinement, where he attempted to end his life several times. Once, in February, 2012, he ripped his bedsheet into strips, tied them together to create a noose, and tried to hang himself from the light fixture in his cell.

In November of 2013, six months after he left Rikers, Browder attempted suicide again. This time, he tried to hang himself at home, from a bannister, and he was taken to the psychiatric ward at St. Barnabas Hospital, not far from his home, in the Bronx. When I met him, in the spring of 2014, he appeared to be more stable.

Then, late last year, about two months after my story about him appeared, he stopped going to classes at Bronx Community College. During the week of Christmas, he was confined in the psych ward at Harlem Hospital. One day after his release, he was hospitalized again, this time back at St. Barnabas. When I visited him there on January 9th, he did not seem like himself. He was gaunt, restless, and deeply paranoid. He had recently thrown out his brand-new television, he explained, “because it was watching me.”

After two weeks at St. Barnabas, Browder was released and sent back home. The next day, his lawyer, Paul V. Prestia, got a call from an official at Bronx Community College. An anonymous donor (who had likely read the New Yorker story) had offered to pay his tuition for the semester. This happy news prompted Browder to reenroll. For the next few months he seemed to thrive. He rode his bicycle back and forth to school every day, he no longer got panic attacks sitting in a classroom, and he earned better grades than he had the prior semester.

Ever since I’d met him, Browder had been telling me stories about having been abused by officers and inmates on Rikers. The stories were disturbing, but I did not fully appreciate what he had experienced until this past April when I obtained surveillance footage of an officer assaulting him and of a large group of inmates pummeling and kicking him. I sat next to Kalief while he watched these videos for the first time. Afterward, we discussed whether they should be published on The New Yorkers Web site. I told him that it was his decision. He said to put them online.

He was driven by the same motive that led him to talk to me for the first time, a year earlier. He wanted the public to know what he had gone through, so that nobody else would have to endure the same ordeals. His willingness to tell his story publicly—and his ability to recount it with great insight—ultimately helped persuade Mayor Bill de Blasio to try to reform the city’s court system and end the sort of excessive delays that kept him in jail for so long.

Browder’s story also caught the attention of Rand Paul, who began talking about him on the campaign trail. Jay Z met with Browder after watching the videos. Rosie O’Donnell invited him on “The View” last year and recently had him over for dinner. Browder could be a very private person, and he told almost nobody about meeting O’Donnell or Jay Z. However, in a picture taken of him with Jay Z, who draped an arm around his shoulders, Browder looked euphoric.

Last Monday, Prestia, who had filed a lawsuit on Browder’s behalf against the city, noticed that Browder had put up a couple of odd posts on Facebook. When Prestia sent him a text message, asking what was going on, Browder insisted he was O.K. “Are you sure everything is cool?” Prestia wrote. Browder replied: “Yea I’m alright thanks man.” The two spoke on Wednesday, and Browder did seem fine. On Saturday afternoon, Prestia got a call from Browder’s mother: he had committed suicide.

That night, Prestia and I visited the family’s home in the Bronx. Fifteen relatives—aunts, uncles, cousins—sat crammed together in the front room with his parents and siblings. The mood was alternately depressed, angry, and confused. Two empty bottles of Browder’s antipsychotic drug sat on a table. Was it possible that taking the drug had caused him to commit suicide? Or could he have stopped taking it and become suicidal as a result?

His relatives recounted stories he’d told them about being starved and beaten by guards on Rikers. They spoke about his paranoia, about how he often suspected that the cops or some other authority figures were after him. His mother explained that the night before he told her, “Ma, I can’t take it anymore.” “Kalief, you’ve got a lot of people in your corner,” she told him.

One cousin recalled that when Browder first got home from jail, he would walk to G.E.D. prep class every day, almost an hour each way. Another cousin remembered seeing him seated by the kitchen each morning with his schoolwork spread out before him.

His parents showed me his bedroom on the second floor. Next to his bed was his MacBook Air. (Rosie O’Donnell had given it to him.) A bicycle stood by the closet. There were two holes near the door, which he had made with his fist some months earlier. Mustard-yellow sheets covered his bed. And, to the side of the room, atop a jumble of clothes, there were two mustard-yellow strips that he had evidently torn from his bedsheets.

As his father explained, he’d apparently decided that these torn strips of sheet were not strong enough. That afternoon, at about 12:15 P.M., he went into another bedroom, pulled out the air conditioner, and pushed himself out through the hole in the wall, feet first, with a cord wrapped around his neck*. His mother was the only other person home at the time. After she heard a loud thumping noise, she went upstairs to investigate, but couldn’t figure out what had happened. It wasn’t until she went outside to the backyard and looked up that she realized that her youngest child had hanged himself.

That evening, in a room packed with family members, Prestia said, “This case is bigger than Michael Brown!” In that case, in which a police officer shot Brown, an unarmed teen-ager, in Ferguson, Missouri, Prestia recalled that there were conflicting stories about what happened. And the incident took, he said, “one minute in time.” In the case of Kalief Browder, he said, “When you go over the three years that he spent [in jail] and all the horrific details he endured, it’s unbelievable that this could happen to a teen-ager in New York City. He didn’t get tortured in some prison camp in another country. It was right here!”

Browder’s mother later explained that the cord was made from his bedsheets


Southern Connecticut State University
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Phone: (203) 392-SCSU



Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture. Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.


·       Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)

·       Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)

·       Sexually explicit jokes

·       Tolerance of sexual harassment

·       Inflating false rape report statistics

·       Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history

·       Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television

·       Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive

·       Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive

·       Pressure on men to “score”

·       Pressure on women to not appear “cold”

·       Assuming only promiscuous women get raped

·       Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped

·       Refusing to take rape accusations seriously

·       Teaching women to avoid getting raped


One reason people blame a victim is to distance themselves from an unpleasant occurrence and thereby confirm their own invulnerability to the risk. By labeling or accusing the victim, others can see the victim as different from themselves. People reassure themselves by thinking, “Because I am not like her, because I do not do that, this would never happen to me.” We need to help people understand that this is not a helpful reaction.

Why Is It Dangerous?

Victim-blaming attitudes marginalize the victim/survivor and make it harder to come forward and report the abuse. If the survivor knows that you or society blames her for the abuse, s/he will not feel safe or comfortable coming forward and talking to you.

Victim-blaming attitudes also reinforce what the abuser has been saying all along; that it is the victim’s fault this is happening. It is NOT the victim’s fault or responsibility to fix the situation; it is the abuser’s choice. By engaging in victim-blaming attitudes, society allows the abuser to perpetrate relationship abuse or sexual assault while avoiding accountability for his/her actions.

What Does Victim-Blaming Look Like?

Example of Victim-Blaming Attitude: “She must have provoked him into being abusive. They both need to change.”

Reality: This statement assumes that the victim is equally to blame for the abuse, when in reality, abuse is a conscious choice made by the abuser. Abusers have a choice in how they react to their partner’s actions. Options besides abuse include: walking away, talking in the moment, respectfully explaining why an action is frustrating, breaking up, etc. Additionally, abuse is not about individual actions that incite the abuser to hurt his partner, but rather about the abuser’s feelings of entitlement to do whatever he wants to his partner.

When friends and family remain neutral about the abuse and say that both people need to change, they are colluding with and supporting the abusive partner and making it less likely that the survivor will seek support.


·       Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women

·       Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape

·       If a friend says they have been raped, take your friend seriously and be supportive

·       Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence

·       Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations

·       Let survivors know that it is not their fault

·       Hold abusers accountable for their actions: do not let them make excuses like blaming the victim, alcohol, or drugs for their behavior

·       Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent

·       Define your own manhood or womanhood. Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.

·       Be an Active Bystander!

Adapted from Marshall University and Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness


FACT: Regardless of their actions, no one deserves to be physically, verbally or sexually abused. In fact, putting the blame for the violence on the victim is a way to manipulate the victim and other people. Batterers will tell the victim, “You made me mad,” or, “You made me jealous,” or will try to shift the burden by saying, “Everyone acts like that.” Most victims try to placate and please their abusive partners in order to de-escalate the violence. The batterer chooses to abuse, and bears full responsibility for the violence.

FACT: Many victims love their partners despite the abuse, blame themselves, or feel as if they have no support system or resources outside of the relationship and so they feel as if they can’t leave. Furthermore, the period immediately after leaving an abusive relationship is extremely dangerous.

FACT: Jealousy and possessiveness are signs that the person sees you as a possession. They are one of the most common early warning sign of abuse

FACT: Abuse can come in many forms, such as sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional. When a person in a relationship repeatedly scares, hurts, or puts down the other person, it is abuse. Harassment, intimidation, forced or coerced isolation from friends and family and having an independent social life, humiliation, threats of harm to you or your family or pets, threats of suicide if you leave, violating your privacy, limiting your independence and personal choices are all examples of abuse.

FACT: While the majority of victims of domestic violence are women, men may also be victims of relationship violence. Men face many of the same barriers as women that prevent them from reporting abuse, but also face a different kind of stigma since many do not believe that men can be victims of dating/domestic violence.

FACT: The majority of men and young men in our community are not violent. The use of violence is a choice. Men who use violence in their relationships choose where and when they are violent. The large majority of offenders who assault their partners control their violence with others, such as friends or work colleagues, where there is no perceived right to dominate and control.

Stating that ‘All men are violent’ places the blame for the violence elsewhere and prevents the perpetrator from being responsible for his violence. The majority of men and women want and can be allies to help in the fight against this kind of violence.

FACT: As many as one-third of all high school and college-age young people experience violence in an intimate or dating relationship. Physical abuse is as common among high school and college-age couples as married couples.


FACT: Men, women and children of all ages, races, religions, and economic classes can be and have been victims of sexual assault. Sexual assault occurs in rural areas, small towns and larger cities. It is estimated that one in three girls and one six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a rape or attempted rape occurs every 5 minutes in the United States.

FACT: Sexual assault is NEVER the victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a violent attack on an individual, not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. For a victim, it is a humiliating and degrading act. No one “asks” for or deserves this type of attack.

FACT: Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows. Studies show that approximately 80%-90% of women reporting sexual assaults knew their assailant.

FACT: A sexual assault can happen anywhere and at any time. The majority of assaults occur in places ordinarily thought to be safe, such as homes, cars and offices.

FACT: Reported sexual assaults are true, with very few exceptions. According to CONNSACS, only 2% of reported rapes are false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other major crime reports.

FACT: Men can be, and are, sexually assaulted. Current statistics indicate that one in six men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Sexual assault of men is thought to be greatly under-reported.

FACT: Almost all sexual assaults occur between members of the same race. Interracial rape is not common, but it does occur.

FACT: Sexual assault is motivated by hostility, power and control. Sexual assaults are not motivated by sexual desire. Unlike animals, humans are capable of controlling how they choose to act on or express sexual urges.

FACT: Sexual offenders come from all educational, occupational, racial and cultural backgrounds. They are “ordinary” and “normal” individuals who sexually assault victims to assert power and control over them and inflict violence, humiliation and degradation.

FACT: Anytime someone is forced to have sex against their will, they have been sexually assaulted, regardless of whether or not they fought back or said “no”. There are many reasons why a victim might not physically fight their attacker including shock, fear, threats or the size and strength of the attacker.

FACT: Survivors exhibit a spectrum of emotional responses to assault: calm, hysteria, laughter, anger, apathy, shock. Each survivor copes with the trauma of the assault in a different way.

Adapted from Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS)

Southern Connecticut State University

PAPER FOUR.  This is a lengthy paper and, should you decide to analyze it, I recommend the following.  Identify five main points and introduce your sociological knowledge in discussing each of the points – you can employ culture, the sociological perspective, social control and deviance, stratification, any of the ideas we discuss in this class.  The paper will count as the two required response papers or 40% of your grade.


JANUARY 11, 2017

Behind the Badge

Amid protests and calls for reform, how police view their jobs, key issues and recent fatal encounters between blacks and police


(Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Police work has always been hard. Today police say it is even harder. In a new Pew Research Center national survey conducted by the National Police Research Platform, majorities of police officers say that recent high-profile fatal encounters between black citizens and police officers have made their jobs riskier, aggravated tensions between police and blacks, and left many officers reluctant to fully carry out some of their duties.

The wide-ranging survey, one of the largest ever conducted with a nationally representative sample of police, draws on the attitudes and experiences of nearly 8,000 policemen and women from departments with at least 100 officers.1 It comes at a crisis point in America’s relationship with the men and women who enforce its laws, precipitated by a series of deaths of black Americans during encounters with the police that have energized a vigorous national debate over police conduct and methods.

Within America’s police and sheriff’s departments, the survey finds that the ramifications of these deadly encounters have been less visible than the public protests, but no less profound. Three-quarters say the incidents have increased tensions between police and blacks in their communities. About as many (72%) say officers in their department are now less willing to stop and question suspicious persons. Overall, more than eight-in-ten (86%) say police work is harder today as a result of these high-profile incidents.

At the same time that black Americans are dying in encounters with police, the number of fatal attacks on officers has grown in recent years.  About nine-in-ten officers (93%) say their colleagues worry more about their personal safety – a level of concern recorded even before a total of eight officers died in separate ambush-style attacks in Dallas and Baton Rouge last July.

The survey also finds that officers remain deeply skeptical of the protests that have followed deadly encounters between police and black citizens. Two-thirds of officers (68%) say the demonstrations are motivated to a great extent by anti-police bias; only 10% in a separate question say protesters are similarly motivated by a genuine desire to hold police accountable for their actions. Some two-thirds characterize the fatal encounters that prompted the demonstrations as isolated incidents and not signs of broader problems between police and the black community – a view that stands in sharp contrast with the assessment of the general public. In a separate Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults, 60% say these incidents are symptoms of a deeper problem.

A look inside the nation’s police departments reveals that most officers are satisfied with their department as a place to work and remain strongly committed to making their agency successful. Still, about half (53%) question whether their department’s disciplinary procedures are fair, and seven-in-ten (72%) say that poorly performing officers are not held accountable.

Conflicting experiences and emotions mark police culture

Other survey findings underscore the duality of police work and the emotional toll that police work can take on officers. About eight-in-ten (79%) say they have been thanked by someone for their service in the month prior to the survey while on duty. But also during that time two-thirds say they have been verbally abused by a member of their community, and a third have fought or physically struggled with a suspect. A majority of officers (58%) say their work nearly always or often makes them feel proud. But nearly the same share (51%) say the job often frustrates them. More than half (56%) say their job has made them more callous.

Most police officers feel respected by the public and, in turn, believe officers have little reason to distrust most people. Rather than viewing the neighborhoods where they work as hostile territory, seven-in-ten officers say that some or most of the residents of the areas they patrol share their values. At the same time, a narrow majority of officers (56%) believe an aggressive rather than courteous approach is more effective in certain neighborhoods, and 44% agree that some people can only be brought to reason the hard, physical way.

Long-standing tensions between police and blacks underlie many of the survey results. While substantial majorities of officers say police have a good relationship with whites, Hispanics and Asians in their communities, 56% say the same about police relations with blacks. This perception varies dramatically by the race or ethnicity of the officer. Six-in-ten white and Hispanic officers characterize police relations with blacks as excellent or good, a view shared by only 32% of their black colleagues.

The racial divide looms equally large on other survey questions, particularly those that touch on race. When considered together, the frequency and sheer size of the differences between the views of black and white officers mark one of the singular findings of this survey. For example, only about a quarter of all white officers (27%) but seven-in-ten of their black colleagues (69%) say the protests that followed fatal encounters between police and black citizens have been motivated at least to some extent by a genuine desire to hold police accountable.

And when the topic turns more broadly to the state of race relations, virtually all white officers (92%) but only 29% of their black colleagues say that the country has made the changes needed to assure equal rights for blacks. Not only do the views of white officers differ from those of their black colleagues, but they stand far apart from those of whites overall: 57% of all white adults say no more changes are needed, as measured in the Center’s survey of the general public.

Public, police differ on some key issues

Further differences in attitudes and perceptions emerge when the views of officers are compared with those of the public on other questions. While two-thirds of all police officers say the deaths of blacks at the hands of police are isolated incidents, only about four-in-ten members of the public (39%) share this view while the majority (60%) believes these encounters point to a broader problem between police and blacks.

And while a majority of Americans (64%) favor a ban on assault-style weapons, a similar share of police officers (67%) say they would oppose such a ban.

On other issues the public and police broadly agree. Majorities of both groups favor the use of body cameras by officers to record interactions with citizens (66% of officers and 93% of the public). And about two-thirds of police (68%) and a larger share of the public (84%) believe the country’s marijuana laws should be relaxed, and a larger share of the public than the police support legalizing marijuana for both private and medical use (49% vs. 32%).

These findings come from two separate Pew Research Center surveys. The main survey is an online poll of a nationally representative sample of 7,917 officers working in 54 police and sheriff’s departments with 100 or more sworn officers. (Some 63% of all sworn officers work in departments of this size.) The National Police Research Platform, headquartered at the University of Illinois at Chicago during the study period, conducted this survey of police for the Pew Research Center May 19-Aug. 14, 2016, using its panel of police agencies. The NPRP panel is described in more detail in the methodology.

The views of the public included in this report drew from a Pew Research Center American Trends Panel survey of 4,538 U.S. adults conducted online and by mail Aug. 16-Sept. 12, 2016. That survey included many of the same questions asked on the police survey, allowing direct comparisons to be made between the views of officers and the public.

Contrasting experiences, conflicting emotions

The survey provides a unique window into how police officers see their role in the community, how they assess the dangers of the job and what they encounter on a day-to-day basis. It also gives a glimpse into the psychology of policing and the way in which officers approach the moral and ethical challenges of the job.

Police have a nuanced view of their role – they don’t see themselves as just protectors or as enforcers. A majority (62%) say they fill both of these roles equally. They also experience a range of emotions on the job – often conflicting ones. A majority of officers (58%) say their work nearly always or often makes them feel proud. Almost as many (51%) say they nearly always or often feel frustrated by the job.

Officers are somewhat less likely to say they feel fulfilled by their job (42% say nearly always or often). Relatively few officers (22%) say their job often makes them feel angry, but a significant share (49%) say it sometimes makes them feel this way. Officers who say their job often makes them feel angry seem to be less connected to the citizens they serve. Fully 45% say very few or none of the people in the neighborhoods they serve share their values. Only 20% of officers who say they hardly ever or never feel angry say the same.

White officers are significantly more likely than black officers to associate negative emotions with their job. For example, 54% of white officers say they nearly always or often feel frustrated by their work, while roughly four-in-ten (41%) black officers say the same. Hispanic officers fall in the middle on this measure.2

Officers worry about their safety and think the public doesn’t understand the risks they face

Fatal encounters between blacks and police have dominated the headlines in recent years. But the story took on another twist with the ambush-style attack that killed five police officers last summer in Dallas. Because these attacks occurred while the survey was in the field, it was possible to see if safety concerns of officers were affected by the incidents by comparing views before and after the assault.

Overall, the vast majority of officers say they have serious concerns about their physical safety at least sometimes when they are on the job. Some 42% say they nearly always or often have serious concerns about their safety, and another 42% say they sometimes have these concerns. The share of police saying they often or always have serious concerns about their own safety remained fairly consistent in interviews conducted pre-Dallas to post-Dallas.3

While physical confrontations are not a day-to-day occurrence for most police officers, they are not altogether infrequent. A third of all officers say that in the past month, they have physically struggled or fought with a suspect who was resisting arrest. Male officers are more likely than their female counterparts to report having had this type of encounter in the past month – 35% of men vs. 22% of women. And white officers (36%) are more likely than black officers (20%) to say they have struggled or fought with a suspect in the past month. Among Hispanic officers, 33% say they had an encounter like this.

Although police officers clearly recognize the dangers inherent in their job, most believe the public doesn’t understand the risks and challenges they face. Only 14% say the public understands these risks very or somewhat well, while 86% say the public doesn’t understand them too well or at all.4 For their part, the large majority of American adults (83%) say they do understand the risks law enforcement officers face.

Police interactions with the public can range from casual encounters to moments of high stress. And the reactions police report getting from community members reflect the diverse nature of those contacts. Large majorities of officers across most major demographic groups report that they have been thanked for their service, but there are significant differences across key demographic groups when it comes to verbal abuse. Men are more likely than women to say they have been verbally abused by a community member in the past month. White and Hispanic officers are more likely than black officers to have had this experience. And a much higher share of younger officers (ages 18 to 44) report being verbally abused – 75%, compared with 58% of their older counterparts.

The situations police face on the job can often present moral dilemmas. When asked how they would advise a fellow officer in an instance where doing what is morally the right thing would require breaking a department rule, a majority of police (57%) say they would advise their colleague to do the morally right thing. Four-in-ten say they would advise the colleague to follow the department rule. There’s a significant racial divide on this question: 63% of white officers say they would advise doing the morally right thing, even if it meant breaking a department rule; only 43% of black officers say they would give the same advice.

Size and demographic composition of America’s police departments

Police are highly committed to their work but say more officers are needed

A look inside the nation’s police departments reveals a great deal about how officers view their jobs, their leadership and their resources. For the most part police officers give their workplace a positive rating and are committed to their agency’s success. A solid majority of officers are either very satisfied (16%) or satisfied (58%) with their agency as a place to work. And an overwhelming share of officers (96%) agree that they are strongly committed to making their agency successful.

Still, police do not offer universal praise of their departmental leadership. Only three-in-ten say they are extremely (7%) or very (23%) supportive of the direction that top management is taking their organization. About half are moderately (28%) or slightly (19%) supportive and 15% are not supportive at all.

And police express serious concerns about resource limitations. At the most basic level, most police (86%) say their department does not have enough officers to adequately police the community. Police who work in larger agencies (with 1,000 officers of more) are more likely than those working in smaller agencies to say that there is a shortage of officers in their department (95% vs. 79%).

Police give their departments relatively positive, though not exemplary, ratings for training and equipping officers to do their jobs. Roughly four-in-ten officers (39%) say their department has done very well in terms of training them adequately for their job, and a similar share (37%) give their department high marks for clearly communicating the responsibilities of the job. About three-in-ten officers (31%) say their department has done very well when it comes to equipping them to perform their job. On each of these dimensions, about four-in-ten officers say their department has done somewhat well, while about one-in-five rate their department’s performance as not too well or not at all well in these areas.

Again there are gaps by department size, with smaller departments (1,000 officers or fewer) giving their leadership significantly higher ratings when it comes to training and equipping them, as well as communicating job expectations.

Most officers say their use-of-force guidelines are appropriate and helpful

As many departments grapple with use-of-force policies and training, most officers say their own agency’s guidelines strike the right balance. About one-in-four (26%) say the rules governing use of force in their department are too restrictive, while 73% say they are about right (1% say the guidelines are not restrictive enough).

Roughly a third (34%) of officers say their department’s guidelines are very useful when police are confronted with actual situations where force may be necessary. An additional 51% say the guidelines are somewhat useful. Some 14% say they are not too useful or not at all useful. And when the department guidelines are not being followed, police overwhelmingly say fellow officers need to step up. Fully 84% say officers should be required to intervene when they believe another officer is about to use unnecessary force; just 15% say they should not be required to intervene.

In terms of striking the right balance between acting decisively versus taking time to assess a situation, police tend to be more concerned that officers in their department will spend too much time diagnosing a situation before acting (56% worry more about this) than they are about officers not spending enough time before acting decisively (41%).

Black officers are much more likely than white or Hispanic officers to say they worry more that officers will not spend enough time diagnosing a situation before acting (61% for blacks vs. 37% for whites and 44% of Hispanics). Overall, blacks and department administrators (59%) are the only two major groups in which a majority is more concerned that officers will act too quickly than worry that they will wait too long before responding to a situation.

Officers give their departments mixed ratings for their disciplinary processes. About half (45%) agree that the disciplinary process in their agency is fair, while 53% disagree (including one-in-five who strongly disagree). When they are asked more specifically about the extent to which underperforming officers are held accountable, police give more negative assessments of their departments. Only 27% agree that officers who consistently do a poor job are held accountable, while 72% disagree with this.

Most officers have had at least some training in key areas of reform

Reforming law enforcement tactics and procedures – particularly as they relate to the use of force – has become an important focus both inside and outside the police department. In the wake of recent fatalities of blacks during encounters with police, recommendations have been made to prevent these types of situations from occurring.

The survey finds broad support among police, especially administrators, for the use of body cameras. Even so, officers are somewhat skeptical that their use would change police behavior. Half of all officers say body cameras would make police more likely to act appropriately, while 44% say this wouldn’t make any difference.

Despite the national attention given to training and reforms aimed at preventing the use of unnecessary force, relatively few (half or fewer rank-and-file officers) report having had at least four hours of training in some specific areas over the preceding 12 months.

About half of rank-and-file officers say they have had at least four hours of firearms training in the last 12 months involving shoot-don’t shoot scenarios (53%) and nonlethal methods to control a combative or threatening individual (50%). Some 46% of officers have had at least four hours of training in how to deal with individuals who are having a mental health crisis, and 44% say they have had at least four hours of training in how to de-escalate a situation so it is not necessary to use force.

About four-in-ten officers say they have received at least four hours of training in bias and fairness (39%) and how to deal with people so they feel they’ve been treated fairly and respectfully (37%).

Most officers say high-profile incidents have made policing harder

Whether an officer works in a department that employs hundreds or thousands of sworn officers or is located in a quiet suburb or bustling metropolis, police say their jobs are harder now as a consequence of recent high-profile fatal incidents involving blacks and police.

Overall, fully 86% of officers say their jobs are harder, including substantial majorities of officers in police departments with fewer than 300 officers as well as those working in “mega departments” with 2,600 officers or more (84% and 89%, respectively). In fact, across every major demographic group analyzed for this survey, about eight-in-ten officers or more say these high-profile incidents have made policing more challenging and more dangerous.

While the impact of these incidents is broadly felt, officers in larger departments are far more likely than those in small agencies to say these incidents have had an impact. For example, roughly half of officers (54%) in departments with fewer than 300 officers say their peers have become less willing to stop and question people who seem suspicious. By contrast, fully 86% of police in departments with 2,600 officers or more say fellow officers are now more hesitant to question people who look or act suspicious. Similarly, roughly nine-in-ten officers (87%) in the largest departments say that police interactions with blacks have become more tense; 61% of officers in small departments agree.

Police in larger departments also are more likely than those in small agencies to say officers in their department are more reluctant to use force to control a suspect even when it is appropriate, a move that police critics may view as a positive sign but others may see as putting officers at increased risk.

The survey also found that roughly half (46%) of officers say fatal encounters between blacks and police in recent years have prompted their department to modify their use-of-force policies. Officers in large departments are more than three times as likely to report that their departments have made this change as small agencies (68% vs. 19%). About two-thirds of police in larger departments (66%) say their departments have taken steps to improve relations with black residents. By contrast, about a third of officers in small departments (35%) have made similar outreach efforts.

How officers view police relations with whites and minorities

Large majorities of white, black and Hispanic officers agree that police and whites in their communities get along.5 But striking differences emerge when the focus shifts to police relations with racial and ethnic minorities. A consistently smaller share of black officers than their white or Hispanic colleagues say the police have a positive relationship with minorities in the community they serve. Roughly a third of all black officers (32%) characterize relations with blacks in their community as either excellent or good, while majorities of white and Hispanic officers (60% for both) offer a positive assessment.

At the same time, only about half of all black officers (46%) but large majorities of Hispanic (71%) and white (76%) officers say relations between police and Hispanics are excellent or good. Similarly, three-quarters of all black officers but 91% of white officers and 88% of Hispanic officers rate relations with Asians in their communities positively.

Majority of police view fatal encounters as isolated incidents

Two-thirds of police officers (67%) say the highly publicized fatal encounters between police and blacks are isolated incidents, while 31% describe them as signs of a broader problem. Yet underlying this result are striking differences between the views of black and white officers – differences that mirror the broader fault lines in society at large on racial issues.

A majority of black officers (57%) say these encounters are evidence of a broader problem between police and blacks, a view held by only about a quarter of all white (27%) and Hispanic (26%) officers.

Black female officers in particular are more likely to say these incidents signal a more far-reaching concern. Among all sworn officers, 63% of black women say this, compared with 54% of black men.

Widespread doubts about protesters’ motives

Most police officers are deeply skeptical of the motives of the demonstrators who protested after many of the deadly encounters between police and blacks. Fully nine-in-ten (92%) believe that long-standing bias against the police is a great deal (68%) or some (24%) of the motivation behind these demonstrations. In sharp contrast, only about a third (35%) of officers say in a separate question that a genuine desire to hold officers accountable for their actions is at least some of the motivation for the protests.

Once again, race pushes police in opposite directions. Among black officers, 69% say the protests were sincere efforts to force police accountability – more than double the proportion of whites (27%) who share this view. Female officers, older police and department administrators also are more likely than male officers, younger police and rank-and-file officers to believe protesters genuinely seek police accountability.

Support for aggressive, physical tactics

The law gives police great discretion in how they interact with citizens. Depending on the situation, these techniques can range from polite persuasion to the use of forceful and more pointed verbal commands to the extreme physical measures that officers sometimes use, often as a last resort, to control threatening or combative individuals. The use of these more severe techniques has been a main focus of the national debate over police methods.

To measure their attitudes toward more aggressive tactics, officers were asked how much they agreed or disagreed with two statements. The first statement read, “In certain areas of the city it is more useful for an officer to be aggressive than to be courteous.” The second measured support for the assertion that “some people can only be brought to reason the hard, physical way.”

A narrow majority of officers (56%) feel that in some neighborhoods being aggressive is more effective than being courteous, while 44% agree or strongly agree that hard, physical tactics are necessary to deal with some people.

On both measures, a larger share of younger, less senior officers and those with less than five years of experience favor these techniques, while proportionally fewer older, more experienced officers or department administrators endorse them.

A majority of officers say they have become more callous

There’s a saying in police work that officers see things the public doesn’t see – and also things the public shouldn’t see. Exposure to the dark side of life, coupled with the stress that officers encounter working in high-pressure situations or with hostile individuals, means that many officers may pay an emotional price for their service.

For example, a 56% majority of officers say they have become more callous toward people since taking their job. Younger officers and white officers are more likely than older or black officers to say they have become more callous.

Officers who report they have grown more callous are also more likely than their colleagues to endorse aggressive or physically harsh tactics with some people or in some parts of the community. They also are more likely than other officers to say they are frequently angered or frustrated by their jobs or to have been involved in a physical or verbal confrontation with a citizen in the past month or to have fired their service weapon while on duty at some point in their careers.

It is difficult to discern with these data whether increased callousness is a primary cause or a consequence of feelings of anger or frustration, or attitudes toward aggressive tactics. However, the data suggest that these feelings and behaviors are related. For example, officers who sense they have become more callous on the job are about twice as likely as those who say they have not to say their job nearly always or often makes them feel angry (30% vs. 12%). They also are more likely to feel frustrated by their job (63% vs. 37%).

Among those officers who say they have become more callous, about four-in-ten (38%) physically struggled or fought with a suspect in the previous month compared with 26% of those who say they have not become more insensitive.

Similarities and differences between police and public views

On a range of issues and attitudes, police and the public often see the world in very different ways. For example, when both groups are asked whether the public understands the risks and rewards of police work, fully eight-in-ten (83%) of the public say they do, while 86% of police say they don’t – the single largest disparity measured in these surveys.

And while the country is divided virtually down the middle over the need to continue making changes to obtain equal rights for blacks, the overwhelming majority of police (80%) say no further changes are necessary. The public also is twice as likely as police to favor a ban on assault-style weapons (64% vs. 32%).

Yet these differences in views are matched by equally significant areas of broad agreement. Large majorities of officers (92%) and the public (79%) say anti-police bias is at least somewhat of a motivation for those protesting the deaths of blacks at the hands of police. Majorities of police and the public favor the use of body cameras by officers, though a significantly larger share of the public supports their use (93% vs. 66%) and sees more benefits from body cams than the police do.

While they disagree about an assault weapons ban, large majorities of the police (88%) and the public (86%) favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks. Majorities also favor creating a federal database to track all gun sales (61% for police and 71% of the public).

The remainder of this report explores in greater detail the working lives, experiences and attitudes of America’s police officers. Chapter 1 examines police culture, how officers view their job as well as the risks and rewards of police work. Chapter 2 reports how officers view their departments and their superiors as well as officers’ attitudes toward the internal rules and policies that govern how they do their job, including the use of force. Chapter 3 looks at how officers view the citizens they serve and how they think the citizens view them, including officers’ perceptions of the relations between police and whites, blacks and other minority groups in their communities. Chapter 4 explores police reaction to recent fatal encounters between blacks and police, the protests that followed many of these incidents and the impact those events have had on how officers do their job. Chapter 5 looks at how officers view various police reforms, including the use of body cameras, and reports on the kinds of police training officers receive to help reduce bias, de-escalate threatening situations as well as how to know when – and when not to – use their service weapons or use deadly force. The final chapter compares and contrasts the views of police with those of the public on a wide range of issues relevant to police work, including attitudes toward gun law reforms and changes to the country’s marijuana laws. It also explores how each group views recent fatal encounters between blacks and police as well as the protests that have frequently followed those incidents.

Other key findings:

§  About half of black officers (53%) say that whites are treated better than minorities in their department or agency when it comes to assignments and promotions. Few Hispanic (19%) or white officers (1%) agree. About six-in-ten white and Hispanic officers say minorities and whites are treated the same (compared with 39% of black officers).

§  Most officers say that outside of required training, they have not discharged their service firearm while on duty; 27% say they have done this. Male officers are about three times as likely as female officers to say they have fired their weapon while on duty – 30% of men vs. 11% of women.

§  Roughly three-in-ten officers (31%) say they have patrolled on foot continuously for 30 minutes or more in the past month; 68% say they have not done this.

§  Officers are divided over whether local police should take an active role (52%) in identifying undocumented immigrants rather than leaving this task mainly to federal authorities (46%).

§  The share of sworn officers who are women or minorities has increased slowly in recent decades. Since 1987 the share of female officers has grown from 8% to 12% in 2013, the last year the federal Department of Justice measured the demographic characteristics of police agencies. During that time, the share of black officers increased from 9% to 12% while the Hispanic share more than doubled, from 5% to 12%.

§  About seven-in-ten officers say some or most of the people in the neighborhoods where they routinely work share their values and beliefs. Officers in larger departments are less likely than those in smaller departments to say they share values with the people in the areas where they patrol.

§  About half (51%) of police officers compared with 29% of all employed adults say their job nearly always or often frustrates them, while about four-in-ten officers (42%) and half of employed adults (52%) say their work frequently makes them feel fulfilled.

§  A large majority of all officers (76%) say that responding effectively to people who are having a mental health crisis is an important role for police. An additional 12% say this is a role for them, though not an important one and 11% say this is not a role for police.


1.     See the methodology appendix for a more detailed description of the criteria used to select the agencies in the sample. 

2.     Because of the small sample of non-Hispanic Asian officers (148), their views were not broken out separately but are included in the overall results. 

3.     On July 7, 2016, five police officers were shot and killed, and nine officers were injured, in Dallas when they were ambushed by a black man who claimed to be angry over recent police shootings of blacks. This incident occurred while the police survey was in the field; 6,957 officers were interviewed before the Dallas shootings, and 960 were interviewed after the incident. 

4.     Throughout this report, whenever response options are combined, net shares are calculated before rounding. 

5.     The sample includes 148 non-Hispanic Asian officers, too small to reliably characterize Asian officers as a group or compare them with other racial and ethnic groups. The views of Asian officers, however, are included in the overall results. 

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