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Personality Characteristics of Supercops and Habitual Criminals

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Science and Administration Volume: 16 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1988) Pages: 163-167
G C Reming
Date Published
5 pages
This study tested the hypothesis that supercops and criminals resemble each other in their dominant dispositions but differ from average citizens and average police officers who in turn tend to be similar to each other.
All subjects were males between 21 and 35 years of age in Los Angeles County. The study instrument was Reming's Response Disposition Inventory (RDI), a list of 250 adjectives and brief descriptions believed to describe both supercops and criminals. Demographic data were collected using a written questionnaire administered prior to the RDI. Results supported the hypothesis that supercops and criminals tend to respond similarly to identical stimuli. The study also confirmed the notion that there are identifiable personality characteristics positively related to police productivity. The profile of the supercop and the habitual criminal was characterized by dispositions toward control, aggressiveness, vigilance, rebelliousness, high energy, frankness in expression, intense personal relationships, high self-esteem, feelings of uniqueness, extroversion, sociability, jealousy, tendencies not to change opinions easily, philandering, and tendencies to avoid blame. Study findings indicate a need for re-evaluating police officer selection criteria and the assumptions on which such criteria are based to reduce mismatches between individual police officers and their assignments. 12 references, 6 tables.


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