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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77400 Find in a Library
Title: St. Louis Police Recruits in the Twentieth Century
Journal: Criminology  Volume:19  Issue:1  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:77-113
Author(s): E J Watts
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 37
Sponsoring Agency: American Council of Learned Societies
New York, NY 10022
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This case study of the effects of altered entrance requirements on the St. Louis Police Department (SLPD) (Missouri) during the period from 1899 to 1970 shows continuity in the social background of police recruits.
Abstract: Personnel records of 1,534 officers were studied and social characteristics such as prior arrest record, age, length of city residence, and education were examined. Other attributes including marital status, military experience, occupational background, race, and religion were also analyzed. The findings showed that, in line with recommendations of the Wickersham Commission (1968) and of reformers throughout the century, the SLDP gradually raised education requirements, lowered age limits, and eliminated residence rules. But only regarding the latter two factors were alterations in entrance standards clearly responsible for shifts in the social backgrounds of recruits. In the case of education, policy changes were secondary to the increase in education among the general young adult population. Increased recruitment of black officers, can also be seen as a natural process in which blacks replaced whites as newcomers to city, to the Democratic Party, and to the police department. None of the above changes affected other attributes of appointees. Officers at the end of the era, like their predecessors, were predominantly married men from blue-collar backgrounds with checkered occupational histories, a high proportion of unemployment, and incidence of prior arrests. Statistical data, notes, and over 10 references are included.
Index Term(s): Labor force analysis; Missouri; Police recruits; Urban area studies
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