No study has been made to identify systematically the elements of police officers’ belief systems. Most studies focus on one or more attitudes and ignore related findings. Recent research has shown that police are heterogeneous in their attitudes, i.e., officers have divergent views about the ends and means of their functions. This article digests previous research and describes those belief systems which directly affect officers’ behavior. Reviews the typologies of White, Brown, Muir and Broderick and synthesizes these into five types: professional; tough‐cop; clean‐beat crime‐fighter; problem‐solver; avoider. Examines the outlook of these of five types in terms of human nature (e.g. cynicism), processes or outcomes (e.g. job satisfaction), and coercive authority. Calls for better conceptualization and measurement of police officers’ outlooks.
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