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Organizational Values of Law Enforcement Agencies: The Impact of Field Training Officers in the Socialization of Police Recruits to Law Enforcement Organizations

NCJ Number
Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology Volume: 23 Issue: 6 Dated: Fall 1999 Pages: 11-19
Wade Engelson
Date Published
9 pages
This article examines how the values communicated by field training officers (FTOs) influence the behaviors of police recruits in conforming to the norms of the police culture.
Study subjects were 110 entry-level police recruits who successfully completed the field training program (FTP) from 1991 through 1996 in a police force of a city of more than 400,000 residents. The program evaluation instrument used in this study was developed by the police department to appraise and evaluate the FTP and the performance of individual FTOs. Police recruits who successfully completed the FTP were asked to complete the questionnaire that used forced-choice Likert-type scale responses and written answers. Responses were used to identify the explicit and implicit values that were communicated to the recruit by FTOs during the FTP. Findings show that although positive explicit values were communicated during the FTP, several potentially negative implicit values were also communicated to police recruits. Consequently, the perceived status of the FTO is an important factor in police recruits' learning about job-related values. Recommendations are offered for developing effective leadership strategies for bringing greater levels of congruency between the explicit and implicit values of law enforcement organizations that are communicated to police recruits during the training process and organizational socialization. 4 tables, 57 references, and appended questionnaire