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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222254 Find in a Library
Title: Using Personality Traits to Predict Police Officer Performance
Journal: Policing  Volume:31  Issue:1  Dated:2008  Pages:129-147
Author(s): Beth A. Sanders
Date Published: 2008
Page Count: 19
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study assessed the usefulness of personality traits, namely the "Big Five" (extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness), as a means of selecting police officers who will perform well in the field.
Abstract: Contrary to researchers' expectations, this study found that personality traits, notably the Big Five, had no direct bearing on their supervisors' ratings of their performance. Measures of poor performance, such as absenteeism and citizen complaints were also of little use in distinguishing good from poor performance in policing. This study revealed three issues that must be addressed in the selection and management of police personnel. First, the difficulty of measuring the quality of individual officer performance continues to be a barrier in developing criteria for selecting recruits and promoting sworn officers. Second, it is still an open question as to how much an individual officer's personality traits matter in performing various police tasks. If this becomes too much of a focus, it might detract from the significance of the job environment, the style of a given department, and the occupational subculture. Third, it must finally be determined whether it is even possible to develop precise selection criteria. This is particularly difficult in the context of changing definitions of police responsibilities and the inability to predict how individuals will behave in various contexts after receiving various types and levels of knowledge-based and skill-based training. The sample of 96 officers involved in this study was drawn from 7 municipal departments and 1 county department in a single northern Kentucky county. Officers were tested on the Big Five Personality traits, which were in turn matched to their performance as measured by supervisor performance evaluations, absenteeism, and citizen complaints. 6 tables, 56 references, and appended study instrument
Main Term(s): Police personnel selection
Index Term(s): Kentucky; Performance Measures; Personality assessment; Police officer performance evaluations; Police performance evaluation
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