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Relationship Between Education, Experience, and Police Performance

NCJ Number
Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: Fall 1997 Pages: 7-14
S M Smith; M G Aamodt
Date Published
8 pages
Data from 299 police officers from 12 municipal police agencies in Virginia were used to determine the relationship between police education and police performance.
Police performance was measured by means of supervisor evaluations of each police officer's overall performance, communication skills, public relations skills, report-writing skills, response to new training, decision-making ability, and commitment to the police agency. Results revealed significant correlations between education and most measures of performance. The only variables not significantly related to education were objective measures of the volume of arrests, the number of times the officer required discipline, and the number of accidents. Findings also revealed that the benefits of a college education did not become apparent until the police officers gained experience. In addition, police officers with only a high school diploma decreased in overall performance after 5 years of experience. Findings supported both study hypotheses regarding the relationship between education and police performance and demonstrated that requiring a college education for police agencies is beneficial to the level of performance achieved by its police officers. Tables and 27 references (Author abstract modified)