The purpose of the current study is to expand the existing knowledge base that seeks to determine which pre‐employment factors can predict which police candidates will successfully complete the training academy.
The data for this study were collected from application and personnel records of 503 police recruits accepted into the Baltimore County police academy. The dependent variable, success in the academy, was measured as a dichotomous variable (1=graduated; 0=not graduated). The independent variables were routine employment factors.
A key finding was that general work experience was better at predicting successful completion of the training academy than prior police experience and prior military experience.
In this particular study it was determined that police recruits who had a prior arrest record or prior illegal drug use and also had prior work experience could successfully complete the police training academy. However, these results are limited to those police organizations that give individuals who had a negative encounter with law enforcement a second chance.
Few studies have examined the relationship between background characteristics and successful completion of the police training academy. This study broadens the understanding of the need for police applicants to have a solid record of general work experience.
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