Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Police Culture

  • Eugene A. PaolineIIIEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_394



The job of a police officer can be both mentally and physically exhausting. As such, officers rely on one another for emotional and physical support. Terms like brotherhood, thin blue line, and blue code of silence are common illustrations of the cultural bond that officers share. Most often connotations of police culture (or police subculture to some) are negative. For example, when officers misuse their coercive power, it is often police culture that gets blamed (for endorsing a no nonsense aggressive approach to dealing with citizens). When organizational reforms, like community policing, are met with officer resistance, the culture is cited as the primary barrier to soft policing innovations brought on by “out of touch” administrators. At the same time, police culture can operate as a powerful positive mechanism in helping officers mutually buffer the various tensions of their job.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA