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Making of a Community Policing Officer: The Impact of Basic Training and Occupational Socialization on Police Recruits

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 4 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2001 Pages: 402-433
Date Published
December 2001
32 pages

This study examined the impact of basic training, field training, and work environment on shaping police recruits' attitudes and beliefs regarding community policing, problem solving policing, and police public relations.


A multiple-treatment, single-case pretest-posttest design was used to survey 446 police recruits from 14 successive basic-training academy classes at the Phoenix Regional Police Training Academy. The sample of police recruits was followed through the 606.5-hour, 16-week basic-training program, field training, and a 1-year probationary period. Over 16 months, they were surveyed at four points and times. Although the training academy had a positive impact on police recruits' attitudes regarding community policing and problem solving, over time, those positive attitudinal changes dissipate as police recruits proceed to their respective police agencies, where they are assigned a field training officer and are exposed to the work environment and organizational culture. The study described the field-training process as the single best place to expose the police recruit to community policing and problem solving practices and strategies. Although the study considered these findings important, they were limited. The study recommends further research to assess the effectiveness of academy and in-service training on shaping police recruits' and veteran officers' attitudes and beliefs. Tables, notes, references

Date Published: December 1, 2001