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Field Supervisor Behaviour and Officer on Duty Personal Business

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 10 Issue: 3 Dated: Autumn 2008 Pages: 339-348
Richard R. Johnson
Date Published
10 pages
This study sought to determine the extent that field supervisor behaviors could influence the amount of time patrol officers spend on personal business activities during their shift.
Lending additional support to the existing research, findings of the study suggest that patrol officers can reduce the amount of time which they spend on personal business. Field supervisors who model appropriate behavior by refraining from conducting personal business themselves, and who engage in frequent face-to-face contacts with their subordinates in the field tend to supervise officers who engage in less personal business while on duty. Field supervisors who abuse their own free patrol time tend to supervise officers who engage in higher levels of personal business while on duty. The conduct of personal business by police officers while on duty is not only an unethical misuse of taxpayer dollars, but can impact a community’s crime and disorder levels. The question is can field supervisors have influence on such behavior? Conducted in the summer of 1977, this study involved the systematic social observation of 922 patrol officers and 27 field supervisors from 24 municipal police agencies in Rochester, NY; St. Louis, MO; and St. Petersburg, FL. Researchers spent more than 7,000 hours observing these personnel during their shifts. The study sought to measure the influence of supervisor modeling and supervisor contact on the amount of time which patrol officers spent on their own personal business-related activities. Tables and references