Police in America
Chapter Six
Police Officers II: On
the Job

McGraw-Hill

© 2013 McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserv...
Reality Shock: Beginning Police
Work
 The astonishment a new police officer

experiences during the first weeks and
month...
Reality Shock


Encountering Citizens
 Hostility



Encountering the Criminal Justice System
 Police officers as “insi...
Initial Assignment
 Impact of the Seniority System

 Officers with more experience have first
priority in requesting ass...
The Idea of a Unique Police
Subculture



A particular set of values, beliefs, and acceptable forms
of behavior characte...
Code of Silence
 Also known as the

“blue curtain,” a code of
honor among police officers whereby
officers refuse to test...
New Perspective on the Police
Subculture



“Police officers are far less unified today and far
less likely to have an u...
The Changing Rank and File
 Women
 African Americans
 Hispanics
 Gay & Lesbian Officers
 Intersection of Gender, Race...
Changing Rank and File: The
Impact of Women Police Officers



Breaking up the traditional solidarity of the work group
...
African-American Police
 Different attitudes on
police use of excessive
force
 More likely to support
citizen oversight
...
Hispanic/Latino Officers
 Increasing significantly in recent years
 Dual identities: both police officers and

members o...
Gay and Lesbian Officers
 Gay Officer Action League (GOAL) of

NYC
 By 1992, at least 10 depts. openly
recruited gay and...
The Intersection of Gender, Race,
Ethnicity, and Sexual Identity




Relationships among officers of different races, g...
Levels of Education
 Education level of officers has been rising
 Education generation gap between

younger, better-educ...
Cohort Effects and Organizational
Effects on Performance
 Cohort Effects
 Officers hired in one decade will have differe...
The Relationship Between Attitudes
and Behavior
 Several factors mediate the effect of

attitudes on behavior:
 Police o...
Styles of Police Work
 Active officers






Initiate more contacts with citizens
Back up officers on other calls
Ass...
Moving Through Police Careers
 Salaries and Benefits






Fringe benefits
Job security
Salary increase through promo...
Career Development






Promotion
 Severely limited
 Irregular intervals
 Formal testing
Salaries and benefits
 At...
Performance Evaluations
 Definitions not clear
 Halo effect
 Rating of all officers tend to cluster

around one numeric...
Job Satisfaction and Job Stress


Job Satisfaction in policing falls into 5 Categories
 Nature of police work
 Organiza...
The Rights of Police Officers
 Same constitutional and civil rights as

other citizens
 Protected by first amendment to ...
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Walker-8-chapter-6

  1. 1. Police in America Chapter Six Police Officers II: On the Job McGraw-Hill © 2013 McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. Reality Shock: Beginning Police Work  The astonishment a new police officer experiences during the first weeks and months on the job when encountering the unpleasant aspects of dealing with the public, the criminal justice system, and the department 6-2
  3. 3. Reality Shock  Encountering Citizens  Hostility  Encountering the Criminal Justice System  Police officers as “insiders”  See the reality of the system  Encountering the Department  “Department Politics” 6-3
  4. 4. Initial Assignment  Impact of the Seniority System  Officers with more experience have first priority in requesting assignments  Eliminates favoritism and discrimination  But, least experienced officers get the most difficult assignments • Leads to the younger officers being better qualified and trained than older officers 6-4
  5. 5. The Idea of a Unique Police Subculture   A particular set of values, beliefs, and acceptable forms of behavior characteristic of American police Original Concept  Group solidarity  Secrecy  “Code of silence”  The Capacity to Use Force  No other occupation has power to take away liberty through force  Danger: Potential versus Actual  Police work has become safer in the last 20 years  Conflicting demands: Law versus Order  Pressure to bend or evade the rules to get evidence or confessions 6-5
  6. 6. Code of Silence  Also known as the “blue curtain,” a code of honor among police officers whereby officers refuse to testify against corrupt colleagues, creating a veil of secrecy around police actions.  Secrecy: In this context, it is the attitude displayed by police officers to the rest of the world. Police officers keep secret the misbehaviors of other police officers. 6-6
  7. 7. New Perspective on the Police Subculture   “Police officers are far less unified today and far less likely to have an us-them view of civilians” Herbert’s Dimensions of Police Subculture       The law Bureaucratic control Culture of “adventure/machismo” Safety Competence Morality 6-7
  8. 8. The Changing Rank and File  Women  African Americans  Hispanics  Gay & Lesbian Officers  Intersection of Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Identity  Levels of Education 6-8
  9. 9. Changing Rank and File: The Impact of Women Police Officers   Breaking up the traditional solidarity of the work group Attitude of men toward women officers varied  Traditionals  Moderns  Moderates  Percentage of women among sworn officers remains around 12%  “Glass ceiling” at entry level and in terms of promotion     Style of work the same as men Receive fewer citizen complaints Less likely to use force Sexism and sexual harassment still an issue 6-9
  10. 10. African-American Police  Different attitudes on police use of excessive force  More likely to support citizen oversight  More likely to support community policing  More likely to live in area where they work  Do not perform differently from white officers 6-10
  11. 11. Hispanic/Latino Officers  Increasing significantly in recent years  Dual identities: both police officers and members of Hispanic community  In some departments, they are the majority  Minority Hispanic police officers believe they are discriminated against in salary and promotions 6-11
  12. 12. Gay and Lesbian Officers  Gay Officer Action League (GOAL) of NYC  By 1992, at least 10 depts. openly recruited gay and lesbian officers  Choose law enforcement for the same reasons people have traditionally chosen it  Many experience discrimination on the job  Homophobic talk by other officers  Barriers in assignment 6-12
  13. 13. The Intersection of Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Sexual Identity    Relationships among officers of different races, genders and ethnicities are extremely complex Tension and conflict among different gender/race/ethnic groups Pattern of self-segregation  Limited interaction between officers of different races/genders  “There is no credible evidence that officers of different racial or ethnic backgrounds perform differently during interactions with citizens simply because of race or ethnicity” – National Academy of Sciences 6-13
  14. 14. Levels of Education  Education level of officers has been rising  Education generation gap between younger, better-educated officers and veteran officers with less education  No strong evidence that higher education leads to better performance on the street McGraw-Hill 6-14
  15. 15. Cohort Effects and Organizational Effects on Performance  Cohort Effects  Officers hired in one decade will have different ideas and lifestyles than officers hired in later decades  Old street cop culture vs. new bureaucratic style  Organizational Effects  The informal culture of a police organization affects officer attitudes toward certain important subjects  Ex: Community Policing 6-15
  16. 16. The Relationship Between Attitudes and Behavior  Several factors mediate the effect of attitudes on behavior:  Police officers are constrained by police bureaucracy and the criminal justice system  Possibility of citizen complaint or lawsuit  Supervisors advice against prejudicial statements that are contrary to the values of the department 6-16
  17. 17. Styles of Police Work  Active officers     Initiate more contacts with citizens Back up officers on other calls Assert control of situations Make more arrests  Passive officers  Initiate few contacts with citizens  Respond only to calls to which they are dispatched  Make few traffic stops/ field interrogations / arrests 6-17
  18. 18. Moving Through Police Careers  Salaries and Benefits     Fringe benefits Job security Salary increase through promotion 68% of all municipal depts. offer incentive pay for college education  In-Service Training    Pre-service academy training Field training program Regular in-service training 6-18
  19. 19. Career Development    Promotion  Severely limited  Irregular intervals  Formal testing Salaries and benefits  Attractive  Good benefits Assignments to special units  Discretion of chief and seniority constraints    Lateral entry  The opportunity to move to other police departments is very limited. Coveted assignments  More challenging  May lead to promotion Outside Employment  Supplement incomes 6-19
  20. 20. Performance Evaluations  Definitions not clear  Halo effect  Rating of all officers tend to cluster around one numerical level  Tendency to rate everyone highly 6-20
  21. 21. Job Satisfaction and Job Stress  Job Satisfaction in policing falls into 5 Categories  Nature of police work  Organizational factors such as perceived support from leaders, relations with fellow officers, and opportunities for career advancement  Relations with the community  Relations with the media and the political establishment  Personal or family factors that influence a person’s job  Sources of Job Stress      Threat of danger Citizen disrespect and challenge to police authority Police department itself For female officers, sexual harassment and sexism Coping with Job Stress: many departments have programs to help officers cope with stress and other personal problems 6-21
  22. 22. The Rights of Police Officers  Same constitutional and civil rights as other citizens  Protected by first amendment to belong to unpopular religious or political groups  Police Officer’s Bill of Rights  Protects officers under investigation for alleged misconduct  Turnover or attrition: leaving police work 6-22
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