Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Ethnic Studies

First Advisor

Joanne Belknap

Second Advisor

Clint Carroll

Third Advisor

Celeste Montoya


This study explores the dynamics of police responses to intimate partner abusing very recent data and detailed police reports acquired from the Longmont police department in Colorado. Despite disagreement in the literature about the efficacy of arrest as the preferred police response for IPA, all fifty states have enacted laws that either encourage or mandate arrest in IPA cases. Since their enactment however, these pro-arrest policies have contributed to many unanticipated outcomes, including increased rates of dual arrest and increased rates of arresting women. Despite the pressing need to interrogate determinants of IPA arrest, very little research has focused on police responses to IPA in recent years. Furthermore, the research that does exist does not provide consistent findings and there is a scarcity of research comparing police responses and arrest outcomes among different races/ethnicities. Thus, this study will contribute to the recent body of literature on factors that inform IPA arrest decisions by providing an analysis of arrest determinants that reflect the influence of many years of a mandatory arrest laws being in existence. The goal of this study is not only to describe suspects, victims, cases, and case outcomes, but to determine how these variables interact, with a primary focus on whether or not case outcomes vary by ethnicity, primarily between Latinx and White suspects.