Abstract Title

Police Cadet Preparedness of Ability to Cope with the Nature of the Job: An Assessment

Abstract

Police officers face many difficult and stressful situations that require rapid judgement decisions. Training is one strategy of helping cadets deal with these inevitable situations. Consequences of poor training can be police violence, mental health problems among officers, and rapid turnover. This study examined police cadets in training and is one of the first studies to do so. I sought to answer: “Are current police training methods sufficient to prepare police officers for their job?”. Data were collected at a police training institute in Kentucky during cadet training using surveys over the span of one year; and achieved an 87% response rate for a total of 379 participants. The sample analyzed was primarily white and male with fourteen years of education and high social support. The dependent variable in this study was perceived job threat, derived from the Critical Incident History Questionnaire measuring expected job stress. Results showed that social support and exposure to past traumas were significantly correlated with perceived job threat to a cadet. Gender had a moderate correlation with perceived job threat. These results are consistent with the literature that social support is a key social factor used to cope with stress (Pearlin, 2009; Thoits, 2010) and that women anticipate a harder time in this line of work. Ultimately the results show that current police training methods do moderately well at preparing cadets for police work but could seek to improve upon gender disparities in the workplace and add more training in keeping social support strong.

Keywords: [Police Training, Social Support, Stress, Trauma, Mental Health, Coping, Workforce, Quantitative, Police]

Modified Abstract

Police officers face many difficult and stressful situations that require rapid judgement decisions. This study examined police cadets in training and is one of the first studies to do so. I sought to answer: “Are current police training methods sufficient to prepare police officers for their job?”. The dependent variable in this study was perceived job threat, derived from the Critical Incident History Questionnaire measuring expected job stress. Results showed that social support and exposure to past traumas were significantly correlated with perceived job threat. Gender was moderately correlated with perceived job threat. These results are consistent with the literature that social support is a key social factor used to cope with stress and that women anticipate a harder time in this line of work.

Keywords: [Police Training, Social Support, Stress, Trauma, Mental Health, Coping, Workforce, Quantitative, Police]

Research Category

Social Science/Education/Public Health

Author Information

Tristan DavisFollow

Primary Author's Major

Sociology

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Richard

Adams

Presentation Format

Oral

Start Date

April 2019

Research Area

Medicine and Health | Place and Environment | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Social Psychology and Interaction | Work, Economy and Organizations

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

Police Cadet Preparedness of Ability to Cope with the Nature of the Job: An Assessment

Police officers face many difficult and stressful situations that require rapid judgement decisions. Training is one strategy of helping cadets deal with these inevitable situations. Consequences of poor training can be police violence, mental health problems among officers, and rapid turnover. This study examined police cadets in training and is one of the first studies to do so. I sought to answer: “Are current police training methods sufficient to prepare police officers for their job?”. Data were collected at a police training institute in Kentucky during cadet training using surveys over the span of one year; and achieved an 87% response rate for a total of 379 participants. The sample analyzed was primarily white and male with fourteen years of education and high social support. The dependent variable in this study was perceived job threat, derived from the Critical Incident History Questionnaire measuring expected job stress. Results showed that social support and exposure to past traumas were significantly correlated with perceived job threat to a cadet. Gender had a moderate correlation with perceived job threat. These results are consistent with the literature that social support is a key social factor used to cope with stress (Pearlin, 2009; Thoits, 2010) and that women anticipate a harder time in this line of work. Ultimately the results show that current police training methods do moderately well at preparing cadets for police work but could seek to improve upon gender disparities in the workplace and add more training in keeping social support strong.

Keywords: [Police Training, Social Support, Stress, Trauma, Mental Health, Coping, Workforce, Quantitative, Police]