«LEARNING IN ACTION: TRAINING THE COMMUNITY POLICING OFFICER By ALLISON TAYLOR CHAPPELL A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE ...»
LEARNING IN ACTION: TRAINING THE COMMUNITY POLICING OFFICER
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 FLORIDACopyright 2005 by Allison T. Chappell
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
LIST OF TABLES
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
Community Policing (COPS)
Specific Aims/Statement of Research
Limitations and Parameters of the Study
2 COMMUNITY POLICING
The Community Era
Success of Community Policing
3 FORMAL POLICE TRAINING
The Transition to (COPS) Training
Recruit Training for COPS
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
4 LEARNING POLICE BEHAVIOR AND NORMS: FORMAL AND INFORMAL CHANGES
Social Learning Theory
Traditional Police Subculture
Academy Training and Learning COPS
Social Learning Model of Police Socialization for COPS
Background of the CMS Curriculum
Research at the Police Academy
The Official Data
Participant Observation and Informal Interviewing
Research at the Police Agency
Field Training Officer (FTO) Files
Participant Observation and Informal Interviewing
Dependent Variables: Academy Performance
A Note on Interactions
viii7 QUANTITATIVE RESULTS
Does CMS Training Make a Difference?
Analyzing Performance among CMS Versus Traditional Recruits
Summary and Conclusion
8 INFORMAL LEARNING
Learning Academy Rules: The Chain of Command, Deference, and Discipline
Pressure to Perform under Stress
Loyalty, Solidarity and Reliance on Fellow Officers
Bad Guy and Us Versus Them
Police Presence and Assertiveness
Traditional Police Work and Experiential Knowledge
Law on the Books Versus Law in Action
9 CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
Ways to Improve
Updated Field Training
A Final Thought: Training Versus Education
Limitations and Future Research
APPENDIX: CURRICULA CONTENTS
LIST OF REFERENCES
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;