Police Morale

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Police Morale
The University of Tennessee at Martin
Ripley Campus

Police Morale
Morale, such a simple word, six letters in a combination to make up a word that by its very definition means confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline. This word, morale, when coupled with a human being, can be a very powerful word. Morale is a great contributor to a healthy or unhealthy workplace. Morale, in the sense of police, can make or break a department. A high morale, and the department is firing on all cylinders, everything is running like clockwork. A low morale, and there is a good possibility someone gets injured or killed. Morale can make the difference between life and death because when police officers no longer care about their job duties, who will? According to Cruickshank (2012), morale can be affected by many things, organizational stress, operational stress, favoritism, poor communication, unfair and inconsistent discipline, and supervisory politics. According to the research of Gocke (1945):

Good morale is vital to police work. A police officer needs good morale in order to accomplish his objectives. His daily work demands that he deal with troublesome problems; he has many setbacks and discouragements. Good morale stimulates persistence, energy, and initiative. It also encourages patience and will-power. It enables a man to draw upon his latent reserves in time of need. Human beings have a tendency not to exert themselves to the limit; their natural "reservoirs of power" are tapped only by the proper sort of mental stimulation. Effectiveness means power of accomplishment. With a hundred men, a depreciation of morale by twenty-five percent is equivalent to a loss of a quarter of the command. In fact, it is worse, for while seventy-five men with perfect morale will accomplish the work of a hundred men whose morale is only three-quarters perfect, in the latter case there are twenty-five drones who make necessary a larger overhead of supervision, time, money, and who further act as unsound apples in a barrel, threatening the efficiency of the others. The purpose of building morale is to make the men more efficient, to create a discipline that is voluntary and enthusiastic rather than enforced, and to stimulate their minds and wills toward desired ends. Morale work is calculated to bring out, encourage, and develop the best there is in the men. It aims to stimulate and assist the weak, direct the strong, correct the erring, educate the uninformed, and further encourage the successful. It brings enjoyment to work and pride in accomplishment. Morale work is designed to take the men's thoughts away from their troubles. It is not intended to reform offenders, though it frequently does so. Its primary purpose is to strike at any possible source of inefficiency and disorder, and thereby prevent conditions that result in a state of mind wherein the individual is willing to commit offenses against the rules and regulations of the department. With all of this in mind, it stands to reason that morale is a very big part of policing; it can make or break a department. The public also does not help the situation. People in the public have no idea the affect that they have on the morale of a police department. According to Albrecht and Green (1977):

Particularly since the outbreaks of racial and student violence during the 1960s, an increasing number of people have become concerned with police-community relations and withthe more general problem of how the police are viewed by the larger community. Almost everyone seems to be able to cite an instance in which the police have been overzealous, impatient, or downright brutal in dealing with citizens. The police feel that for every such negative instance, there are numerous others in which they have acted in the opposite way, but the latter seldom seem to make it into the newspaper or get flashed across the country on the television screen. Part of the problem is centered in the role...
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