ROBERT HOGAN The Johns Hopkins University LAWenforcement agencies have received considerable attention recently as a result of their involvement in a series of public controversies. I n response, fact-finding commissions have proposed a number of methods for improving the quality of law enforcement personnel (e.g., Kerner, et al., 1968). The validity of such proposals is problematic, however, because little factual evidence is presently available concerning the characteristics of good policemen. Much existing information about the police comes from sociological research, which depicts the average policeman as being of lower class origins, relatively uneducated, and a political-economic conservative (cf. Niederhoff er, 1967; Skolnick, 1966). When this information is combined with the popular stereotype of police as authoritarian agents of repression, an unattractive and potentially misleading image emerges. For the past 30 years psychologists have been relatively uninterested in studying the police. The most comprehensive review, and the first major piece of research on the topic, was reported relatively recently (1964) by Matarazzo, Allen, Saslow, and Wiens. Matarazzo et 511's. findings are interesting because they call into question some of the implications of sociological research. Studying a large group of successful police applicants ( N varied between 35 and 112)
Personnel Psychology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1971
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