Degree Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Acacia Nikoi

Second Advisor

Dr. Laura Wangsness Willemsen

Third Advisor

Dr. Diane Harr, Dr. Booker Hodges


This study investigates the perceptions of current licensed peace officers in Minnesota regarding reforming their profession. From 2017 to 2020, more police officers in the United States died by suicide than officers killed by gunfire, assaults, crashes, or accidents in the line of duty (Officer Down Memorial Page, 2023 & Blue H.E.L.P, 2023). These statistics present a wellness crisis in the policing profession that deserves immediate attention. There have been worldwide calls for changes in policing from people outside of law enforcement, but few incorporate the practical insights of police officers and even fewer are concerned with officer wellness aspects.

In contrast, this research seeks input from active peace officers currently serving their communities in an attempt to understand the wellness crisis in law enforcement and improve the profession. This qualitative research project uses a grounded theory-informed approach to analyze individual interview data and ultimately unveil reform recommendations from actively serving peace officers. Findings reveal strategies to adjust the systems of education, state and local governments, and law enforcement to better support the wellbeing of current and future officers, as well as community members’ quality of life.