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Sullivan 1

Hunter Sullivan
Michael Behrens
Composition II
17 November 2014
Research Paper
I have lived in emporia for 3 months and the one thing that I notice on every street is
some sort of law enforcement. According to the Emporia Police Department, there are 45
sworn officers and 24 civilian employees just in the police department alone. This includes the
officers, investigators, patrol division (which includes bike patrol), and the dispatch operators. Of
these 69 members of the police department, we only see 28 of them on the street, the patrol
division; although, it feels like we see all 69 members (Emporia Police Department). On top of
Emporias Police Department, our campus has its own police and safety that staffs 11 campus
officers. This is a total of 39 policemen and women on the street. Of course, there are 3 shifts and
days off to include when thinking about how many police are staffed on one shift, but even with
that being included there are going to be around 9 to 11 members on duty. Thats only if they
distribute the shifts evenly with the officers.
Considering Emporia is a college town, I can understand the thought of staffing so many
police members at once; however, Emporia is a small town. According to Google, the area of
Emporia, Kansas is 11.94 square miles. Having 9 to 11 police on one shift is ridiculous in such a
small town. It is not uncommon to think that Emporia is going to be a busier town since it is a
college town, but that is not necessarily true. Emporia does not have a lot going on during the
days or even at night; although, night times are busier than day time. A stereotypical college
student would be out looking for some sort of trouble: drinking underage, doing drugs, public

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intoxication, etc. Of course, college students are going to be looking for something to do, so
there will be more cars on the streets. Some kids will be out looking for a party or something to
do; on contrary, some kids will be out for a late night snack or going bowling. With so many
police on duty at once, it is only natural that a police will be looking for trouble due to boredom.
Police will look for small things to pull someone over for targeting young adults,
teenagers, and/or groups of people or individuals leaving somewhere late at night. Since they are
targeting these groups of people, more young adults get pulled over with hardly any reasoning
than middle age adults or elderly adults. When police pull over individuals without reasoning
because of their appearance or age, it is known as being prejudicial. Shaka Yesufu, a previous
United Kingdom, policeman believes racism and stereotyping is a key factor for the way police
target citizens. Yesufu explained that the police, through the use of discretionary powers and
their subscription to stereotypes and prejudices, may subjectively pay more attention to some
sections of society than others (283). Yesufu also shares throughout the article that police need
a reason to pull someone over and doing so without a reason it is unconstitutional. It is not
uncommon that college kids drink and stay out late, but without a proper reason police have no
business pulling over someone. Emporia Police Department overstaffs their policemen, creating
a distraction to citizen drivers and problems for the town. Policemen and women discriminate
towards age and find themselves wondering if they can trust their police force. Without trust in
its protection, how is a town supposed to feel safe?
Here is a prime example of an Emporia police targeting a young adult: Codi Ebert was
pulled over in late April around three in the morning (Ebert). Codi is a sophomore at Emporia
State University and was personally targeted by a town police. She said the cop pulled her over
because she didnt turn on blinker soon enough, which she felt was not his actual reason for

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pulling her over. It was odd because I did turn on my blinker and he had been following me for
about a mile or two like he was wanting to pull me over (Ebert). She explained she had a hard
night and a thought a drive would clear her mind. The officer asked Ebert if she knew where she
was headed, and asked her to get in his front seat of his car. She explained she felt uncomfortable
doing this, but did anyways. He was not being professional about the situation because he was
suggesting her to do things that were not necessary. Things like getting in the front seat of the car
(never giving her a reason why), asking personal questions, and keeping her after running her
records and already giving driver license back to her (Ebert). Ebert expressed her opinion about
some of the cops at Emporia. I have always felt like some cops will keep an eye on college kids
leaving late at night to see if theyre drunk or under the influence and this experience was proof
of that. Yesufu termed this as police property (282). In this case the police was using Codi
Ebert as a shield of his unconstitutional behavior (282).
Not only do police have a certain opinion about college student, college students also
have a certain opinion about police officers. Personally, as a student here at Emporia State
University, I find it comforting that I can walk to my dorm late at night without worrying
something terrible might happen to me. But as a citizen, it makes me nervous driving on the
streets with one cop car on every corner. Even if I am not doing anything irregular or wrong, I
feel like I am going to do something wrong. Victoria Vinciguerra and Dana Magane studied a
group of young adults opinion over campus police at the University of New Hampshire (44).
Their study was based on different gender and different ages opinion over police and their
experiences (Vinciguerra). According to the text, their research of other researchers experiments
show that an opinion of a police is affected by age due to an experience one has had with a cop
(42). As Vinciguerra quoted in the article, Jones-Brown (2000) defined attitude towards the

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police effectively, stating that the nature (direct or indirect), quality (positive or negative), and
extent (frequency and duration) of police contact are all factors that influence attitudes towards
police (44). Going off of previous research based on municipal police instead of campus
police, someone could decide whether they think their towns police are being helpful by all the
positive or negative things they hear or they could have an actual experience with a police unit
(44). One could have a great experience with a police and have a complete different attitude than
one who has a poor experience. The amount of times one has an encounter with a police,
depending on their experience could also factor their opinion (Vinciguerra).
Vinciguerra and Maganes personal studies of age, based off of a survey shows that the
University of New Hampshire students think it is necessary for campus police. For student over
the age of 21, 30% think campus police are always necessary, 30% think campus police are
mostly necessary, and 40% think that campus police are sometimes necessary (49).
Likewise, students under the age of 21 agreed. 31% think it is always necessary, 45% think it
is mostly necessary, and 24% think it is sometimes necessary (49). All ages believe it is
necessary; therefore, 0% was voted for never necessary. This goes to show that age does not
affect ones opinion of police, it is strictly experiences. In my opinion, most students are
comfortable with campus police, due to the fact they are looking out for the students wellbeing;
whereas, city police put off a vibe that they are looking to get you in trouble.
The vibe they put off is also based on experiences people hear about or their appearance
such as, how many police are driving around or how long they follow you. Jospeter Mbuba also
did a research over college students opinions of police, municipal police instead of campus
police (Vinciguerra). His studies were based off of previous research similar to Vinciguerra and
Maganes. However, instead of studying age, he is addressing how to establish whether a

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negative police encounter alters the attitude toward the police among the respondents (204). In
his survey he had people who have had an encounter with a police officer answer all the same
questions that people who have never had an encounter with a police officer. They could answer
with ratings of 1-5: 1- strongly agree, 2- agree 3- neutral/undecided, 4- disagree, and 5- strongly
disagree (Mbuba). Mbuba asked questions were simple questions like, Police provide an
important service to the community, which both parties strongly agreed to, but there were also
controversial questions like, Police should focus on dangerous criminals, not trafc violators
and Most trafc violation tickets are unfair (209). These questions were all answered
neutral/disagree because they were not very specific. Most traffic violations tickets are
unfair depends on what the person did. Here at Emporia, I would give that question rating a 1strongly agree because people get pulled over for stopping too long or too short at a stop sign.
Regardless of the question that Mbuba asks, both parties scores ranged in the same ranking, so
the results were that previous encounters with police does not affect a persons opinion.
This contradicts Vinciguerras study that experience affects opinion (42) Previously
stated, Codi Ebert has had an experience with a police officer in Emporia, but that changed her
opinion. Although, she stated she always felt that Emporia police targets students, her opinion
was still altered by this experience (Ebert). Everyone has an opinion about something based on
what they have heard, what they have experienced, and what they believe. To explain Mbubas
results of his survey, his questions were too simple. Everyone (who has different opinions of
police) will all agree that police provide important service to this community (209). If he threw
in questions of scenarios that have been reported, such as police provide important services to the
community by timing how long someone is stopped at a stop sign or police provide importance
to the service to the community by pulling someone over who has slightly crossed the yellow

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line 2 times, then the answers would vary. Some may believe it is important for the safety of
other drivers, while others think driving over the line a couple times is regular and not
dangerous. We would all agree a police is providing important services if the driver has visibly
crossed the line more than 3 times and swerving.
Another reason Mbubas questions were controversial is because he was addressing all
police. Most people will judge all police based off of one policemans behavior. Even if a
persons experience with a police is a bad one, this person may think that all police are
unconstitutional. This brings me into my next point. It is wrong to judge the whole police
department based on one policemans behaviors. Dino DeCrescenzo wrote an article called
Early Detection of the Problem Officer, and says most police are supremely dedicated
individuals severely, offended by the behavior and acts committed by those few who have
tarnished the image of their profession (14). My goal is not to bag on the Emporias law
enforcement, but I do think there are things that need to change.
According to the article some ways to look for a problem police officer is by the
amount of complaints he or she has or the amount of arrest they have performed and if there
were resistance or difficulties in the performance (DeCrescenzo). Monitoring the police allows
the systems to function properly. There is not necessarily a problem police in Emporia, but
there are police who abuse their powers by pulling someone over for a little reason. If they were
monitored, a problem might be found in a certain police officer. An officer that pulls over
overabundance amount of young adults in a week could be put on some sort of probation for
discrimination, depending on what the outcomes of each stop and search incidents is. A police
officer should be prejudice towards someones criminal record, not age, race, or gender
(Oberweis).

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Most people think that if a police is being out of control or unconstitutional, the Supreme
Court, a higher power, should be able to control them. That is not true in all cases. Rachel
Harmon explains that to regulate police power it is way beyond the Supreme Courts control
(273). The Supreme Court is worried about bigger problems (Harmon). She believes police
should be trained a whole different way that allows them to be more efficient. I dont necessarily
believe training a police differently will change the way they discriminate towards age, gender,
or race. Police have opinions of different groups of people, just as college students do them.
However, police have authority and that is where the problem comes in. Police are able to taunt a
citizen if they do not like them or think they are suspicious with no consequences. Pulling over a
student for stopping at a top sign for the wrong period of time or not using their blinker early
enough is almost as if they are letting you know they are in charge. Citizens cannot do anything
if they have a strong opinion of the police. All they can do is voice their opinion; whereas, police
can give you a ticket, bump your insurance up higher, or even arrest you if you say the wrong
thing.
Again, my goal is not to bag on Emporias police officers because they are doing a
service to our community, but I feel they are missing the concept of their services. To provide a
safe environment for our community and protection. They should be working for the citizens, not
against them. With so many police being staffed, police officers are targeting smaller issues out
of boredom and excuses for pulling young adults over are not legit. Emporia has a low crime rate
and rarely runs into problems with citizens; therefore there is no need for 9 to 11 officers on duty
at a time. Perhaps if they have an issue, a police could be on call duty, which is where a police
officer only comes into work if called. If the officers were minimized to 6-8 officers on shift then

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they could worry about issues that affect our community rather than what college students are
doing.

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Work Cited
DeCrescenzo, Dino. "Early Detection of the Problem Officer." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
74.7 (2005): 14-17. Academic Search Premier. Web. 2 Oct. 2014.
Ebert, Codi. Personal Interview. 6 Oct. 2014.
"Emporia Police Department." City of Emporia. City of Emporia, 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2014.
<http://police.emporia-kansas.gov/>.
Google
Harmon, Rachel A. "The Problem Of Policing." Michigan Law Review 110.5 (2012): 761-818.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.
Mbuba, Jospeter M. "Attitudes Toward The Police: The Significance Of Race And Other Factors
Among College Students." Journal Of Ethnicity In Criminal Justice 8.3 (2010): 201-215.
SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Oberweis, Trish, and Michael Musheno. "Policing Identities: Cop Decision Making And The
Constitution Of Citizens." Law & Social Inquiry 24.4 (1999): 897. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.
Vinciguerra, Victoria, and Dana Magane. "Student Perspectives On Law Enforcement At UNH."
Perspectives (University Of New Hampshire) (2011): 42-51. SocINDEX with Full Text.
Web. 19 Nov. 2014
Yesufu, Shaka. Discriminatory Use of Police Stop-And-Search Powers in London, UK.
International Journal of Police Science & Management 15.4 (2013): 281-293. Academic
Search Premier. Web 17 Nov. 2014.