Date of Defense

Fall 10-30-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Criminal Justice (MSCJ)

Department

Sociology and Criminal Justice

Committee Chair

Dr. Christopher Totten

Committee Member

Dr. Gang Lee

Committee Member

Dr. Richard Stringer

Abstract

The public safety exception to Miranda attempts to balance an individual’s Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination with police officer and community safety. Under the public safety exception, if officers possess a reasonable belief that their safety or the public’s safety is in imminent danger, they may forego reading the Miranda warnings to a suspect in custody whom they wish to interrogate. The purpose of this empirical, survey study is to examine police officer perception and knowledge of the public safety exception. To this end, a questionnaire was distributed to officers in a large, populated county in the Southeastern United States. The survey’s outcomes shed light on the three hypotheses: (1) whether police officers with higher education are more likely to perceive it to be easier to apply the public safety exception to Miranda; (2) whether police officers with more training are more likely to have greater knowledge of the public safety exception to Miranda; and finally (3) whether police officers with a higher rank are more likely to have greater knowledge of the public safety exception to Miranda. This study both fills a gap in the existing literature and discusses policy implications for law enforcement practices in general and the public safety exception in particular.

Available for download on Saturday, November 29, 2025

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