Personality of Law Enforcement Officials: A Comparison of Law Enforcement Officials' Personality Profiles Based on Size of Community
Surrette, Michael A., Ebert, Joseph M., Willis, Michael A., Smallidge, Tara M., Public Personnel Management
The idea of psychologically screening for law enforcement candidates is not new, in fact as far back as 1916 behavioral scientists have been involved in psychologically testing candidates. (1) In recent years psychological tests have been found to be valid and reliable predictors of police performance. Communities are seeking to know more about those who will soon be serving their safety needs. In the past, very little data was available on the reliability and validity of such psychological tests. Another reason tests are gaining popularity in police selection is because they have the potential to reduce some of the human influence on recruitment and selection.
It seems logical that different size communities lend themselves to different styles of living and thus placing different demands on law enforcement officials. Every jurisdiction employing law enforcement officers has different tasks, rules and client needs (2). It also appears that although psychological tests have been used for years, it is only recently that the law enforcement field has had a wealth of knowledge available to it concerning when to use the tests and what they best predict. With the knowledge that psychological tests are valid and reliable, coupled with the data that suggests that different size communities create different demands upon law enforcement officials, it seems logical that exploring the possibility that personality profiles exist among different officials in different communities would be beneficial. The exploration of a personality profile of a police candidate was explored using The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire Scales along with 12 measures of psychopathology (3). They found that the majority of police candidates in their study could be categorized in one profile group. The characteristics of the profile group labeled "Typical Cop" were found to be self-disciplined, socially bold, extroverted, emotionally tough and low in experienced anxiety.
A question left unanswered was whether or not the candidates in the study, who were selected from cities across America, fall into similar personality profiles because they were from similar size cities and departments.
Questionnaire data were collected from 830 randomly selected rank-and-file police officers from 15 police departments. There was a significant relationship between organizational tenure, duty assignment, geographical location and variation in the way police roles …
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Publication information: Article title: Personality of Law Enforcement Officials: A Comparison of Law Enforcement Officials' Personality Profiles Based on Size of Community. Contributors: Surrette, Michael A. - Author, Ebert, Joseph M. - Author, Willis, Michael A. - Author, Smallidge, Tara M. - Author. Journal title: Public Personnel Management. Volume: 32. Issue: 2 Publication date: Summer 2003. Page number: 279+. © 2009 International Personnel Management Association. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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