Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Carlton Lewis


Police Academy, Education, Misconduct, Professionalize, Standardization


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand and discover the efficacy of education on police misconduct for the citizens of Port Isabel, Texas through the services received from the Port Isabel, Texas, police department, and the trust in the relationship between the citizens and the police officers of Port Isabel, Texas. The theory guiding this study is Moral Development Theory initiated by Lawrence Kohlberg, which explains that children and adolescents progress through six stages of moral development organized in three levels (Carmichael et al., 2019). While this theory is directed at children and adolescents, the same theory can be used on police officers through the different stages of development and understanding based on exposure to moral judgements they must make throughout their careers. The methodology consisted of qualitative design, with a sample size of 12 anonymous citizens who resided in or were employed in the city of Port Isabel, Texas, between 2017-2022. The data collection consisted through an anonymous online survey to describe the attitudes of Port Isabel, Texas, citizens and determine if the current training provided to the police officers were sufficient and the effects on police misconduct. The results provided four recommendations for criminal justice executives, policy makers, and police officers: 1) police departments need to partner with higher-level educational institutions to synchronize and standardize procedures, 2) research should be applied to police departments that provide financial benefits to police officers with education, 3) research on higher education levels for police officers with different backgrounds and variables, including prior police experience, military experience, and the size of the police departments they are employed with, 4) determine the effects if police officers were sponsored recruits or self-sponsored at their respective police academies.