Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MS)

Committee Member

Haruna, Peter F.

Committee Member

Luo, Fei


Citizen complaints against police officers have been the highlight of national news media and outlets. Complaints of use of force are not the only ones that arise from citizens’ complaints; other complaints such as discourtesy and demeanor are issues that police officers face and answer to their internal affair’s investigative units. The aim of this study is to examine what ascribed (e.g., age, gender, and marital status) and career-related achieved (e.g., certification, education, experience, and training) characteristics of police officers influence citizens’ complaints in terms of type, frequency, and severity. Contextual factors such as patrol beat, used as a moderating factor, is also examined. Data was collected from a police department in a border city along the Texas-Mexico border. A sample of police officer records served as the basis for this study’s data and analyses. A linear regression modeling approach was used to analyze data. The findings demonstrated that age is a consistently significant negative predictor (i.e., older officers generate lower annual rates of complaints) of annual rate of complaints per year and that basic certification has a significant negative impact (i.e., officers with basic certification have a lower severity index score) on the utilized severity score. Understanding the characteristics and nature of these relationships have the potential to improve police interdepartmental policy which would assist officers in forming better community relationships.