Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Bradley Edwards

Committee Members

Dustin Osborne, Nicole Prior


The purpose of this study was to examine police officer response to individuals suffering with mental illness. There had been little prior research that used qualitative methods and explored police officers in rural areas. Several research questions were explored, including stigmatizing beliefs held by police officers toward individuals with mental illness, perceived levels of preparedness, challenges experienced by police officers, improvements officers wish to see implemented, and the impact of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) training. This study gathered data through semi-structured interviews with 19 police officers who worked in East Tennessee in order to address the research questions. The results from this study provided an understanding of how both CIT-trained and non-CIT-trained police officers respond to individuals suffering with mental illness in rural areas and what changes they would like to see implemented to improve response.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by Aliss Copsey

Included in

Criminology Commons