Date of Award

Fall 11-17-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education Degree, Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education


Office of Doctoral Studies, College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Hansman, Catherine

Second Advisor

Anne Galletta

Third Advisor

Ronnie Dunn


The culture of policing is rooted in a warrior ethos of preserving order against chaos and criminality in a hostile world. This ethos may be negatively influencing community relations. A guardian mindset encourages community engagement, fostering trust, and building allies within the community. The purpose of this grounded theory study is to understand in the context of strained relationships between Communities of Color and police, how officers develop their knowledge, skills, and experiences to become guardians in the communities they serve. This research considers: 1) what is the process of developing patrol officers that are competent in community relations within an urban context; 2) what knowledge and skills are expected of patrol officers to be competent in community relations within an urban context share; 3) what formal education and informal experiences contribute to a patrol officer’s knowledge and skills in community relations within an urban context. Twenty-four police leaders, police officers, and trainers representing five police departments and training facilities located in diverse urban populations in Northeast Ohio participated in semi-structured interviews. Four community leaders and public safety organizers also participated in interviews. The theoretical model identifies departmental and individual barriers and facilitators that influence the professional development of officers relevant to community relations.