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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 81527 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Retrospective Study of Peace Officer Personnel Files
Author(s): R J Levy
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 187
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An empirical analysis was conducted in California to test the hypothesis that successful law enforcement officers would differ significantly from unsuccessful officers with respect to their personality characteristics and life histories.
Abstract: Data were gathered from the personnel files of 14 police departments, sheriff's offices, and a highway patrol serving populations of a wide range of sizes. Data were gathered on over 2,000 officers who had been separated from their agencies during the decade preceding the study's beginning and over 2,000 officers who were currently employed. From the group of separated officers, failures were defined as those whose services were no longer considered to be of value to their departments due to inefficiency on the job or because of nonjob behavior which was intolerable to the department. Officers who were terminated for cause by their departments tended to be younger at the time of appointment, to have a greater number of years of education, to have more marriages and shorter work histories, and to have more citations for vehicle code violations and other violations. The failures presented a pattern of greater mobility and uncontrolled impulsivity than did the officers who were retained. The finding on educational attainment suggested that police departments do not sufficiently meet the needs of their more educated officers. The other findings substantiated the hunches of many police officers. Findings indicated that screening devices for prospective law enforcement officers should be specifically tailored to the unique needs of the law enforcement profession rather than trying to determine which applicants are emotionally unstable. A person with no emotional pathology may be a higher risk than someone whose emotional makeup includes certain problem areas. Footnotes, a list of 22 references, and appendixes presenting data tables and related material are provided.
Index Term(s): California; Comparative analysis; Personnel minimum standards; Personnel selection; Pleas; Police effectiveness
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