Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2022

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Jeffrey Lee, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Suzette Lovely, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Obed Magny, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to identify and describe how Latino police officers perceive and use their political styles to attain the rank of Captain through the lens of White et al.’s (2016) nine political styles.

Methodology: This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of 14 Latino police captains who used political styles, skills, and strategies navigating their organization to move up in rank, particularly to attain the rank of captain. Study participants were Latino police captains from the Los Angeles Police Department. The researcher collected qualitative data via semi-structured interviews to ensure consistent information collection and provide flexibility to gain clarification through follow-up questions.

Findings: The data analysis resulted in 30 themes with 666 references based on the research question and the sub-questions. Factors influencing Latino police officers to attain the rank of captain in law enforcement included support by teaching, mentoring, and coaching; adapting to organizational change; and developing the next generation of leaders in law enforcement. Thirty key findings emerged related to the lived experience of Latino police captains in leadership roles in the Los Angeles Police Department.

Conclusions: Examination of the key findings resulted in eight conclusions demonstrating actions that should be taken to facilitate Latino police captains to move up in law enforcement ranks. The findings showed Latino captains attained rank by building strong relationships, being a role model for others, adapting to organizational change, and developing the new generation of police leaders.

Recommendations: Based on the findings and conclusions of this study, further investigation in the following areas was recommended: goal setting and coaching effectiveness, the relationship between promotability and emotional intelligence, the role of leadership classes in promotion opportunities for underrepresented groups, and the benefit of mentoring and coaching for entry- and mid-level police officers.