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Reasons and barriers for choosing police careers

Sayer-Jane Vermeer (Department of Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)
Ben Stickle (Department of Criminal Justice Administration, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)
Mark Frame (Department of Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)
Michael Hein (Department of Psychology, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 23 August 2020

Issue publication date: 10 October 2020

545

Abstract

Purpose

As tensions between the police and community grow, one often called upon solution is a more diverse police force. However, building diversity presents many challenges, especially if there are barriers for choosing a career as a police officer. The present study explores motivations and barriers to becoming a police officer to help reduce the disparity between the community and police.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey of 344 persons in the US asked respondents to identify the motivations and barriers to choosing a career as a police officer. Survey questions centered on issues related to trust, police culture, practices of the police and lack of awareness of career opportunities.

Findings

Results indicated that higher trust of the police, positive perceptions of police fairness and knowledge of potential police career opportunities increased an individual's interest in pursuing a career as a police officer. At the same time, negative views in these areas were barriers to interest in policing. These results give insight into where efforts can be focused to increase interest in becoming a police officer.

Originality/value

There is a lack of research on factors leading to an interest in a policing career. This study provides insight into the reasons for and barriers to entering a career in policing and provides a starting point for future research and practical implications for police departments seeking to increase interest in a policing career.

Keywords

Citation

Vermeer, S.-J., Stickle, B., Frame, M. and Hein, M. (2020), "Reasons and barriers for choosing police careers", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 43 No. 5, pp. 817-830. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-05-2020-0074

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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