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Police Personality Essay

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Police Personality Essay

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  • August 2008
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There are two types of personality trait designations that are used to describe police officers. The two types are the unique traits viewpoint, and socialization and experience viewpoint. Those who believe in the unique traits viewpoint are often referred to as predisposition personality traits. Also in this viewpoint, it insists that law enforcement attracts a certain type of individual to the job. Within this viewpoint, some of the traits included are authoritarianism, cynicism, racism, hostility, secretiveness, and loyalty. (Dantzker, 2003). These are the type of qualities that law enforcement agencies and security companies do not wish to have. The other viewpoint, socialization and experience, also known as occupational personality, suggests that these personality traits are developed through the socialization and experiences of policing. Both views can be persuasively argued. Unique Traits

Normally becoming a police officer automatically makes an individual an authority figure, authoritarianism is a pertinent personal element. It is not difficult to believe that such an individual may possess authoritarian tendencies and wish to expand them by becoming a police officer. To argue that the individual willing to wear a badge, gun, nightstick, and handcuffs and to be legally charged with the power to take away liberty, or in some instances life, does not have some degree of an authoritarian characteristic before entering law enforcement seems foolish. (Dantzker, 2003) Socialization and Experience

Although the data remain limited, existing evidence argues that identified personality traits such as cynicism, racism, and hostility are the result of the policing experience. Some individuals even suggest that the socialization process begins before the person actually becomes a police officer. In either view, the authoritarian trait, if preexistent, is reinforced through the police experience. When the police officer puts on a badge and gun,...