This paper reports the results of a 1992 City of Tacoma, Washington study of police values which was designed to test similar research conducted by Milton Rokeach in 1971. Our data support the hypothesis that individual value systems are more important than occupational socialization in understanding police selection and behavior. Value patterns not only were consistent over time, but also reflected a pattern of conservative beliefs. This work suggests that any attempt to reform or improve police community relations must begin with the restructuring of recruiting practices and the re‐socialization of police practitioners.
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