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Police Officer Attitudes Toward Peers, Supervisors, and Citizens: A Comparison Between Field Training Officers and Regular Officers

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 27 Issue: 1 Dated: Fall 2002 Pages: 69-83
Date Published
15 pages

This study assessed whether police field training officers (FTOs) have attitude patterns toward peers, supervisors, and citizens that distinguish them from nonfield training officers.


Data for this study were collected as part of the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN) based in Indianapolis, IN, during the summer of 1996. The interview portion of the data collection was the basis for this secondary analysis. POPN researchers interviewed 398 patrol officers of the Indianapolis Police Department at 4 district stations. The purpose of the interview, which consisted of 128 structured questions, was to obtain information on attitudes toward fellow officers, immediate supervisors, district managers, and neighborhood residents. The main independent variable was the FTO status of the officer. Control variables included officers' unit, shift, sex, race, and educational background. Years of police experience, the only interval variable, was also controlled. The study found that FTOs were more critical of first-line supervisors than non-FTOs. FTOs and non-FTOs showed similar attitudes toward squad members and citizens. This may reflect the success of the FTO program in transmitting the police culture from one generation to the next. The findings imply that police managers should seek ways to improve FTOs attitudes toward supervisors, since negative attitudes toward supervisors held by FTOs should not be transferred to new officers. Police administrators may be able to mitigate resentful FTO attitudes by displaying positive and supportive attitudes toward the FTO program, requiring a broad range of personal competencies and abilities to perform FTO work, permitting FTOs to do their jobs with a high degree of autonomy, and allowing FTOs to train and evaluate rookies with visible improvements. Also, agencies should continue to select training officers who show positive attitudes toward fellow workers. 2 tables and 52 references

Date Published: January 1, 2002