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Police academy training: comparing across curricula

Allison T. Chappell (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




This study aims to address two interrelated research questions. First, to compare the academy performance of police recruits trained under a traditional academy curriculum with the performance of those trained under a new academy curriculum based on community policing. Second, to investigate whether a different “type” of recruit performs better in the community policing curriculum compared with the traditional curriculum.


Regression analysis is used to estimate the effects of independent variables on three dependent variables that indicate academy success: average academy scores, failure experiences, and post‐academy employment.


Results suggest that more highly educated recruits and female recruits fared better in the community policing curriculum but that, overall, recruits in the community policing curriculum performed similarly to their traditional counterparts.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that newer police training models may be rewarding skills consistent with the community policing philosophy, such as education. This is a study of one police training center that has instituted a new training curriculum, so results cannot be generalized to other training centers. The community policing curriculum was in the early stages of implementation when data were collected and was therefore not yet standardized. Finally, the analysis is limited to predicting the success of police recruits in the academy, rather than predicting their job performance.


Few studies have examined academy training in community policing. This study is a first step to broadening understanding of the impact of academy training in community policing on police recruits.



Chappell, A.T. (2008), "Police academy training: comparing across curricula", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 36-56.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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