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First‐line supervisor's perceptions of police integrity: The measurement of police integrity revisited

Joseph A. Schafer (Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, USA)
Thomas J. Martinelli (Wayne State University, St Clair Shores, Michigan, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine supervisor perceptions of police integrity situations using the measurement of police integrity instrument. Additional survey questions focused on aspects of integrity of particular relevance within the study agency. The latter concerned that agency's on‐going legal arrangement with the federal government to address alleged sub‐standard patterns and practices of officer/agency performance.


In total, 478 sergeants and lieutenants from the study agency completed the survey instrument. This represented 97 percent of those asked to complete the instrument and approximately 60 percent of first‐line supervisors.


The results paralleled some aspects found in prior research, in particular that respondents cast themselves as having stronger integrity than their peers. Findings also illustrated potential weaknesses in efforts to enhance police integrity in light of federal intervention in the study agency.

Research limitations/implications

The findings represented the first focused effort to replicate the measurement of police integrity instrument among first‐line supervisors. Such personnel were key figures in efforts to modify deficient patterns and practices, making them a prime focus for research consideration.

Practical implications

The skepticisms expressed by some supervisors illustrated issues worthy of consideration in future efforts to enhance integrity in police organizations. First‐line supervisors play key roles in shaping officer conduct, particularly in larger agencies. As such, more consideration needs to be given to the role they play in organizational change efforts.


In addition to informing scholarly understanding through the measurement of police integrity instrument, the findings are of importance in applied efforts to enhance integrity or otherwise modify police organizations.



Schafer, J.A. and Martinelli, T.J. (2008), "First‐line supervisor's perceptions of police integrity: The measurement of police integrity revisited", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 306-323.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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