Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 7–14 | Cite as

The relationship between education, experience, and police performance

  • Scott M. Smith
  • Michael G. Aamodt
Article

Abstract

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.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Carter, D. & Sapp, A. (1992). College education and policing: Coming of age.FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 61(1), 8–14.Google Scholar
  2. Caxcio, W. (1977). Formal education and police officer performance.Journal of Police Science and Administration, 5(1), 86–89.Google Scholar
  3. Champion, D.H. (1994). A study of the relationship between critical thinking levels and job performance of police officers in a medium size police department in North Carolina. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, North Carolina State University.Google Scholar
  4. Davis v. Dallas, 777 F. 2nd 205 (5th Cir 1985).Google Scholar
  5. Dorsey, R. R. (1994). Higher education for police officers: An analysis of the relationships among higher education, belief systems, job performance, and cultural awareness. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Mississippi.Google Scholar
  6. Feldman, K. A. & Newcomb, T. M. (1969).The impact of college on students. Vol. 1: An analysis of four decades of research, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  7. Ferrell, N.K. (1994). Police officers' receptivity to community policing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. East Texas State University.Google Scholar
  8. Finckenauer, J. O. (1975). Higher education and police discretion.Journal of Police Science and Administration, 3(4), 450–457.Google Scholar
  9. Goldstein, H. (1977).Policing a free society. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.Google Scholar
  10. Gottlieb, M. C., & Baker, C. F. (1974). Predicting police officer effectiveness.Journal of Forensic Psychology, 6, 35–46.Google Scholar
  11. Griffin, G. R. (1980).A study of relationships between level of college education and police, patrolman's performance. Saratoga, NY: Twenty One Publishing.Google Scholar
  12. Higgins, J. M. & Michals, J. (1994). The effects of education level on performance among campus police officers Paper presented at the annual Graduate Conference in I/O Psychology and Organizational Behavior, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  13. League of United Latin American Citizens v. Santa Ana, 11 C. C. H. EPD 10808 (D.C. Cal., 1976).Google Scholar
  14. Lefkowitz, J. (1977). Industrial-Organizational Psychology and the police.American Psychologist, 32(5), 346–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lester, D. (1979). Predictors of graduation from a police training academy.Psychological reports, 44, 362.Google Scholar
  16. Madden, B. L. (1990). The police and higher education: A study of the relationship between higher education and police officer performance. Unpublished Master's Thesis. University of Louisville.Google Scholar
  17. Matyas, G. S. (1980). The relationship of MMPI and biographical data to police performance. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri-Columbia.Google Scholar
  18. Miller, J. & Fry, L. J. (1978). Some evidence on the impact of higher education for law enforcement personnel.The Police Chief 45 (8), 30–33.Google Scholar
  19. National Advisory Commission on Criminal, Justice Standards and Goals (1973).A national strategy to reduce crime Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  20. Powell, D. D. (1986). An assessment of attitudes toward police education.Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 2(1), 2–9.Google Scholar
  21. President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (1967).The challenge of crime in free society. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  22. Roberg, R. R. (1978). An analysis of the relationship among higher education, belief systems, and job performance of patrol officer.Journal of Police Science and Administration, 6(3), 336–344.Google Scholar
  23. Scott, W. R. (1986). College education requirements for police entry level, and promotion: A study.Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 2(1), 10–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Smith, A. B., Locke, B., & Fenstger, A. (1970), Authoritarianism in policemen who are college graduates and non-college police.Journal of Criminal Law Criminology, and Police Science, 61, 313–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. United States v. Buffalo 457 F. Supp. 612.Google Scholar
  26. Whitehead, A. N. (1967).The aims of education and other essays. New York Free Press (original work published 1929).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 1997

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations