Fair in Unfair Circumstances: Police Officers' Perceptions of Homeless Encampments

  • Author / Creator
    Beaulieu, Celine
  • This thesis presents local police officers’ experiences with Edmonton’s homeless encampments and the unhoused population. For this project, I asked two research questions: 1) How do Edmonton Police Service officers reflect upon, perceive, and express their interactions with homeless encampments and individuals?, and 2) How do these accounts inform our understanding of the dynamics with policing marginalized communities? I interviewed 23 police officers who were currently policing homeless encampments or had previously worked with the unhoused population. My thesis demonstrates two broad themes related to police officers’ descriptions of police-unhoused interactions. First, officers are frustrated with the problem of homelessness. They were particularly frustrated with current homelessness strategies that enable homelessness while depleting policing resources. Despite these frustrations, officers learn how to manage the city’s homelessness crisis through their interactions with encampment residents, often demonstrating ways to be ‘fair in unfair circumstances.’ This thesis also demonstrates the range of new technologies used by officers: the benefits of these technologies and how officers’ perceptions of these technologies impact police-unhoused interactions. These findings provide important insight into police officers’ conceptualizations of this social dilemma.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.