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Interpersonal Risk Theory and Two Law Enforcement Agencies in Central Ohio

NCJ Number
C K Eden
Date Published
290 pages
This study examines the impact of five independent variables on the attitudes of individual police officers and on their organization, based on the levels of three psychological constructs present in an Ohio law enforcement agency. It then compares the measures of these constructs with another police agency.
These constructs--Interpersonal Risk (IR) theory, Likert's Profile of Organizational Characteristics (POC), and the F-Scale--provide an initial basis for an exploration of personality and organizational variables in a campus police agency and a more typical police department. The following five variables are investigated to validate the capability of IR theory to identify particular attitudes within members of the police service: lengthier formal education, higher organization status, lengthier organizational service, higher annual salary, and attendance at basic police training. The research used a quasi-experimental design. Data demonstrate that as the length of formal education is increased the respondents show more willingness to confer trust and confidence in their interpersonal relationships. The implication for police agencies is that educated officers are less constrained to the strictly authoritarian role of law enforcement and can react to their duties in less than dictatorial terms. Higher organizational status was not demonstrated to be as important an independent variable, although lengthier organization service was shown to be positively correlated with greater authoritarian values and lower IR scores. Data concerning attendance at basic police training were not statistically significant, and the impact of higher annual salaries on police attitudes may merely be a recounting of lengthier organizational service. Suggestions for future research are discussed. POC and F-Scale data are appended along with data collection instruments. Charts, tables, diagrams, and about 150 references are included.


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