Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 7–14

The relationship between education, experience, and police performance

  • Scott M. Smith
  • Michael G. Aamodt

DOI: 10.1007/BF02806696

Cite this article as:
Smith, S.M. & Aamodt, M.G. J Police Crim Psych (1997) 12: 7. doi:10.1007/BF02806696


This study used data from 299 police officers from 12 municipal police departments across the state of Virginia to determine the relationship between education and police performance. Performance was measured by supervisor evaluations of each officer's overall performance, communication skills, public relations skills, report writing skills, response to new training, decision making ability, and commitment to the police department. Significant correlations were found between education and most measures of performance. Most importantly, the results show a significant correlation between overall performance and education (r=24, p.<001). The only variables not proving to be significantly related to education were objective measures of the volume of arrests, number of times the officer required discipline, and number of accidents. Interestingly, the benefits of a college education do not become apparent until police officers gain experience. In addition, police, officers with only a high school diploma decreased in overall performance after five years of experience.

Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott M. Smith
    • 1
  • Michael G. Aamodt
    • 1
  1. 1.Radford UniversityRadfordUSA

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