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Police officers’ role orientations: Endorsement of community policing, order maintenance, and traditional law enforcement

Jacinta M. Gau (Department of Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Nicholas D. Paul (Department of Criminal Justice, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 27 September 2019

Issue publication date: 2 October 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine police officers’ attitudes toward community policing and order maintenance, as well as the facets of the work environment that impact those attitudes.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data come from a sample of officers in a mid-sized police department. Ordinary least squares regression modeling is used to examine community-policing, order-maintenance and law-enforcement role orientations.

Findings

Officers endorse community partnerships, but are less enthusiastic about order maintenance. They also display mid-level support for traditional law enforcement. Work–environment variables have inconsistent impacts across the three role orientations.

Research limitations/implications

This was a survey of attitudes in one department. Future research should examine officers’ involvement in community-policing and order-maintenance activities and any impediments to such activities.

Practical implications

The findings have implications for police leaders seeking to implement community policing and ensure street-level officers are carrying out partnership and order-maintenance activities. In particular, top management must foster a positive work environment and personally model commitment to policing innovations.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the currently sparse body of literature on officer attitudes toward community policing and order maintenance, and incorporates traditional law-enforcement attitudes as a point of contrast. This paper advances the scholarly understanding of police officers’ role orientations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section on “Social Police Work and Police Social Work: 100 years after August Vollmer's speech”

Citation

Gau, J.M. and Paul, N.D. (2019), "Police officers’ role orientations: Endorsement of community policing, order maintenance, and traditional law enforcement", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 42 No. 5, pp. 944-959. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-04-2019-0044

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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