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Longitudinal Model for Predicting Performance of Police Officers Using Personality and Behavioral Data

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 36 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2009 Pages: 591-606
Carlos G. Forero; David Gallardo-Pujol; Alberto Maydeu-Olivares; Antonio Andres-Pueyo
Date Published
June 2009
16 pages
This study used a longitudinal structural equation model in examining the validity of measures of training performance and self-reported personality measures in predicting actual performance after completing training for a sample of 2,010 police candidates enrolled at the Catalan Institute for Public Safety (Spain).
The study found that actual job performance was significantly influenced by a police officer's personality; however, this influence was mediated by training. Thus, the capacity of police officers to perform their duties effectively apparently depends on how their psychological dispositions are modulated by formal training. On the whole, successful police officers tend to be less anxious and more controlled than their less successful counterparts. This finding agrees with other studies, which suggest a profile of low emotional vulnerability and high conscientiousness predicts effective performance in law enforcement samples. This personality pattern may be linked with better coping styles in law enforcement environments. Training attitude and motivation for police tasks were predictive of individual commitment to training and to various duties performed in law-enforcement work after academy training was completed. The findings suggest that it is possible to predict high-performing police officers at very early stages of their training. Personality is a major predictor, but its effect is mediated by training performance. The 2,010 police candidates were assessed and trained during the years 1999 through 2001. All had successfully completed the full training course. All individuals in the sample were European, and women accounted for 18.6 percent (n=374) of the sample. All candidates completed the 16PF-5, which measures emotional adjustment, integrity/control, intellectual efficiency, and style of relationship with others. After academy training, candidates spent 1 year performing at least one professional assignment, after which they received a supervisor rating that summarized their performance during the year. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 47 references