Overlapping Shades of Blue: Exploring Police Officer, Supervisor, and Administrator Cultures of Police Integrity
This chapter explores the contours of police integrity across the police agencies’ hierarchical structure. Instead of relying on the traditional non-supervisor/supervisor dichotomy, we differentiate across three levels of the police hierarchy (line officers, first-line supervisors, and administrators). Our results, based on the 2013/2014 survey of 664 police officers from 11 U.S. police agencies, indicate that non-supervisors, first-line supervisors, and administrators had similar views about misconduct seriousness and similar assessments of police misconduct as rule violating. Compared to supervisors, non-supervisors thought that less severe discipline would be appropriate in the majority of the scenarios. At the same time, there were no statistically significant differences in the expected discipline among non-supervisors, first-line supervisors, and administrators. The greatest degree of heterogeneity among non-supervisors, first-line supervisors, and administrators was discovered in their expressed willingness to report. Non-supervisors were not only more likely to say that they would adhere to the code of silence themselves than the first-line supervisors and/or administrators, but they were also more likely to say that most police officers would do the same. The results of our analyses clearly demonstrate the need to include a more complex differentiation of the respondents’ rank and supervisory status into future studies.
KeywordsPolice integrity Police structure Hierarchy Supervisors Administrators Code of silence Misconduct
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