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NCJ Number: 120633 Find in a Library
Title: Empirical Examination of the Relationship Between Police Solidarity and Community Orientation
Journal: Journal of Police Science and Administration  Volume:16  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1988)  Pages:182-194
Author(s): S K Shernock
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 13
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Treating solidarity as a variable that is differentially valued by police officers, this study hypothesized that the greater the sense of solidarity expressed by officers, the less likely officers will be to express a positive community orientation.
Abstract: The study was conducted in 11 police departments in small- to medium-sized cities in three New England States and New York State. In order to specify the postulated relation between police solidarity and community orientation, correlates of police subculture deriving from both the internal and external working environment were examined. Secrecy was used as an operational indicator of solidarity, and a solidarity index was constructed that focused on the reluctance of police officers to act against or report the misconduct of other officers. Such attributes as job efficiency, obedience to superiors, respect for citizens, and ethical standards were also studied. The only consistent effect of police solidarity measures on community orientation measures was the definite negative, but not particularly strong, effect on support for the community service function. Subcultural characteristics related to the external environment exerted a greater effect than those of the internal environment on community orientation measures; while no more related to police solidarity measures, external characteristics had a stronger effect than internal characteristics on police solidarity. When solidarity was measured in terms of loyalty to fellow officers, it was strongly related to respect for citizens, moderately related to the importance of community relations, and weakly related to support for the community service function. The negative effect of police solidarity on support for the community service function may best be explained by the fact that providing community services, unlike engaging in law enforcement, is more likely to be a solitary form of role involvement in which officers are less likely to depend on each other. Therefore, rather than necessarily viewing community services negatively, officers are less likely to support them because they do not provide opportunities for affirming police comraderie or identity. 30 references, 2 tables.
Main Term(s): Police community relations
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; New England States; New York; Police research; Psychology of law enforcement
Note: Paper presented at the 1988 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, San Francisco
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