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The myth(?) of the police sub‐culture

John K. Cochran (Department of Criminology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Max L. Bromley (Department of Criminology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 1 March 2003



This study examines empirically the extent to which there is evidence of an endemic sub‐culture of policing among a sample of sheriffs’ deputies. While failing to observe widespread adherence to the sub‐cultural norms and values suggested in the literature, such adherence is observed among a subset of our sample. Advanced statistical techniques (i.e. cluster analysis and discriminant function analysis) are then used to create, replicate, and validate a numerical taxonomy of policing. The taxonomy reveals three types of law enforcement orientations: “Sub‐Cultural Adherents,” “COP Cops,” who represent a nouveau sub‐culture strongly committed to public service, and “Normals,” who, on average, are quite average and are not especially committed to either sub‐cultural form.



Cochran, J.K. and Bromley, M.L. (2003), "The myth(?) of the police sub‐culture", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 88-117.




Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited

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