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What is the police working personality? What are its central features? How does it develop? How does it relate to police subculture?
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The working personality includes all aspects of the traditional values and patterns of behavior evidenced by police officers who have been effectively socialized into the police subculture. Characteristics of the police personality often extend to the personal lives of law enforcement personnel. Characteristics of the police working personality include authoritarianism, cynicism, conservatism, suspicion, hostility, individualism, insecurity, loyalty, efficiency, honor, secretiveness, and prejudice. American police officers develop a working personality through an informal socialization process wherein officers learn “appropriate” police behavior (that is, acceptable to fellow officers) from veteran members of the department. Once acquired, it creates a “streetwise” view of the world shared by members of the police ranks. The police working personality is a central component of police culture. Rookie officers are socialized into the police culture. Hiring practices, training, and interactions with supervisors, other officers, and citizens are all issues that impact this socialization process. The working personality is one by-product of this socialization process.
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