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«LEARNING IN ACTION: TRAINING THE COMMUNITY POLICING OFFICER By ALLISON TAYLOR CHAPPELL A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE ...»

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LEARNING IN ACTION: TRAINING THE COMMUNITY POLICING OFFICER

By

ALLISON TAYLOR CHAPPELL

A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT

OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Copyright 2005 by Allison T. Chappell

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

From the beginning, the first memorable class I took at East Carolina University (ECU) was Social Problems (taught by Linda Mooney). Linda’s stories and perspective on the world introduced me to a new way of viewing society that would change me forever, personally and professionally. After that, Bob Edwards (also at ECU) mentored me as a senior undergraduate student, spending hours explaining the ins and outs of grad school and what a career in academia would entail. He taught me how to make a vitae, offered me an opportunity to “do research,” and continued to help and support me until this day. He deserves a huge “thank you.” Barbara Zsembik taught my first methods class in graduate school and served on my supervisory committee. Though we did not speak as often in my later years of graduate school, I always knew Barb was there with grounded advice for any problem, be it personal or professional. She, Mike Radelet, and Marian Borg, taught me much about writing.

The entire Criminology faculty was always full of useful information about teaching, publishing, and job searching (including the office staff, notably Dianne and Hazel in Criminology, and Sheran and Kanitra in Sociology). They are a great group of people. Karen Parker was the first professor I assisted in the classroom. From her, I learned the skills and importance of effective lecturing and how to manage teaching efficiently. She and Aaron also became good friends of ours. Eve Brank became a good friend and someone that I look up to personally and professionally. I also thank Jodi Lane iii for advice on jobs and the dissertation. Joe Spillane gave great advice on life and teaching and he always offered much-needed humor. I thank Ron Akers for his theoretical insights about the police. Many graduate school friends also helped me along the way (Brad Tripp, Melanie Wakeman, Jennifer Matheny, and John Reitzel, to name a few).

I thank those at the Police Academy who trusted me with all of their data, answered my questions, and let me observe the academy classes. Without these data, this dissertation would not exist. The people at the academy (notably Daryl Johnston, Tom Terry, and Jim Murphey) taught me much about the police, police training, and the innerworkings of the academy. I am very appreciative. The academy recruits who “are” the data were interesting and fun to get to know. The staff and recruits made this experience enjoyable and interesting.

I would also like to thank those at the “The” Police Agency, especially Lieutenant Allan Willis and Lieutenant Scott Meffen. This dissertation is much more interesting because of the follow-up data they provided. They invited me to meetings, introduced me to people, and answered my many questions. They are a fun group of people. I really appreciate the help and friendship of those at The PD.

I met Marian Borg (my supervisory committee chair) during my second semester of graduate school, in a seminar on social control. She has been a mentor and a friend.

Emotionally, intellectually, and educationally, Marian has been a constant source of support. Especially at the beginning, she essentially held my hand while I learned how to write and how to apply theoretically concepts to the real world, and believed in me when I did not believe in myself. She saw me at my worst and still seemed to like me! I am grateful.

–  –  –

would not have been possible without Lonn. Lonn forced me to think and work harder than I had before. He pushed me and I am thankful for it. I thank Lonn for putting up with me when I needed to complain, and when I was completely stressed out and probably mean to him! Lonn received the brunt of my stress and emotional breakdowns during the writing of this dissertation and still managed to be nice to me. I will cherish the memories of our meetings at Starbucks, Northwest Grille, and other various eating and drinking establishments in Gainesville, where we talked through the issues of my research and he forced me to think about issues theoretically (much to my dismay). I will not forget the commitment and dedication he showed to me during the final months of the writing of this dissertation. I really owe this to him.

I thank my mother, who has been dealing with her own adversity during this time, but has managed to continue to put my priorities first and make sure that I reach my goals. She always stressed the importance of education as I was growing up, probably not anticipating that I would take it so literally! I very much appreciate the support throughout the years, emotionally, financially, and otherwise.

I thank my father, who showed overwhelming pride in my accomplishments.





Whatever I did, I knew that my father would be proud. My friends (especially Heather) were always there to listen to me cry and complain and worry and freak out when it seemed the world was ending for one reason or another. I am sure I was difficult to deal with at times! I thank them for their support.

Last, but certainly not least, I thank my fiancé, Scott Maggard, who has had to put up with more insanity from me than anyone else has over the past 6 years! It has been a

–  –  –

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

LIST OF TABLES

ABSTRACT

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

Introduction

Community Policing (COPS)

Police Training

Specific Aims/Statement of Research

Significance

Policy

Theory

Limitations and Parameters of the Study

2 COMMUNITY POLICING

Introduction

History

The Community Era

Community Policing

Challenges

Success of Community Policing

3 FORMAL POLICE TRAINING

Traditional Training

The Transition to (COPS) Training

Recruit Training for COPS

Delivery

Challenges to COPS Training

Community Policing and Police Training: The LAPD

Contextualize the Learning

Integrate Key Topics Throughout the Curriculum

vii Build the Scenario

Conduct a Thorough Debriefing (After the Scenario)

Community Policing in Florida

Field Training

4 LEARNING POLICE BEHAVIOR AND NORMS: FORMAL AND INFORMAL CHANGES

Introduction

Social Learning Theory

Differential Association

Definitions

Differential Reinforcement

Imitation

Traditional Police Subculture

Academy Training and Learning COPS

Social Learning Model of Police Socialization for COPS

5 DATA

Introduction

Background of the CMS Curriculum

Research at the Police Academy

Setting

Data

The Official Data

Participant Observation and Informal Interviewing

Research Questions

Research at the Police Agency

Setting

Data

Field Training Officer (FTO) Files

Participant Observation and Informal Interviewing

Research Questions

Summary

6 METHODS

Introduction

Quantitative Analysis

Dependent Variables: Academy Performance

Independent Variables

A Note on Interactions

Qualitative Data

Police Academy

Police Agency

viii7 QUANTITATIVE RESULTS

Introduction

Descriptive Statistics

Full Sample

Split Samples

Multivariate Models

Does CMS Training Make a Difference?

Analyzing Performance among CMS Versus Traditional Recruits

Summary and Conclusion

8 INFORMAL LEARNING

Introduction

Paramilitary Environment

Learning Academy Rules: The Chain of Command, Deference, and Discipline

Accepting Criticism

Pressure to Perform under Stress

Loyalty, Solidarity and Reliance on Fellow Officers

Officer Safety

Bad Guy and Us Versus Them

Police Presence and Assertiveness

Traditional Police Work and Experiential Knowledge

Law on the Books Versus Law in Action

Diversity

Conclusion

9 CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION

Introduction

Ways to Improve

Instructors

College-Educated Recruits

Updated Field Training

Horizontal Communication

Adult Learning

A Final Thought: Training Versus Education

Theoretical Lessons

Limitations and Future Research

APPENDIX: CURRICULA CONTENTS

LIST OF REFERENCES

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

–  –  –

7-1. Descriptive Statistics of Study Variables

7-2. Regression models predicting academy performance of academy recruits................84 7-3. Regression models predicting academy performance of CMS recruits

7-4. Regression models predicting academy performance of traditional recruits.............85

–  –  –

Chair: Marian Borg Cochair: Lonn Lanza-Kaduce Major Department: Sociology Community-oriented policing (COPS) is a new philosophy and practice of policing that focuses on problem solving, community involvement, and crime prevention.

Academics, politicians, and practitioners alike have lauded COPS for its potential to enhance public safety and improve police-community relations. Though 70% of police departments claim to be practicing COPS, the way in which community-oriented policing translates into practice remains somewhat unclear. While a growing number of studies are examining various aspects of this policing philosophy, little scholarly attention has been devoted to the training of COPS officers. This study evaluated how COPS training is being conducted and whether recruits are learning different lessons as COPS has been incorporated into training. Specifically, it analyzed participant observation data from a police academy as well as official records of academy recruits who have gone through both traditional and COPS curricula. It also used field training narratives and forms to see

–  –  –

learning perspective to account for whether curriculum changes translated into differential learning. Police recruits who went through the COPS curriculum differed little in terms of academy performance compared to recruits who went through the former traditional curriculum. No particular “type” of recruit was more or less likely to fail, gain employment, or achieve higher academy scores. Although there is much that is different in the CMS curriculum, the lessons that are learned may not be that different. This is because the normative climate of the police training and socialization experience has changed little since the reformation in curricula. The normative climate includes formal and informal lessons about the paramilitary environment, officer safety, the “bad guy” and “us versus them” mentality, police presence and assertiveness, experiential knowledge and traditional police work, law on the books versus law in action, and diversity. These lessons have implications for the way that officers interact with their department and the citizenry, as well as implications for COPS. Results of this study will be a resource to police training centers attempting to build their own innovative COPS curricula. In the future, this study could be improved using larger samples from additional training environments to assess COPS training and its impact on policing practices.

–  –  –

Shooting. Defensive tactics. Mechanics of arrest. This is what comes to mind when most of us hear the term “police training.” And that is only for the past 50 years, because before that, most police officers did not receive any formal training at all (Walker 1999).

The political era, which spanned from the 1840s through the early 1900s, was characterized by “watchman” style policing, and saw officers recruited informally and learning the ropes of policing on the job (Alpert and Dunham 1997; Kelling and Moore 1988a). Recruits were not formally screened and any “training” they received was left to seasoned police officers in the field. Corruption in that time period led to reform beginning in the early 1900s. Reform, or legalistic, policing introduced basic training of police officers (Alpert and Dunham 1997; Kelling and Moore 1988a). However, training varied widely by state, agency, and budget, and most recruits were still insufficiently prepared for police work (Alpert and Dunham 1997).

We have come a long way since then, and we are now well into the community policing era (Kelling and Moore 1988a). The new era highlights the importance of cultural diversity, communications, and problem-solving. Indeed, training is one of the key elements necessary for community policing to reach its full potential (King and Lab 2000; Senna and Siegel 2002; Zhao and Thurman 1995).

Police recruits learn complex lessons in the quest to become police officers. They likely begin thinking about the police role long before they apply for the job. Once they apply, they must go through screening and background checks before being admitted to the academy. The academy presents many formal and informal lessons and definitions;



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