Policing

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CRJ 110 Chapter 6 Assignment 3

Jerome Skolnick developed a profile for the “working personality” of police officers. His theory is that all officers have “distinct cognitive tendencies”, or they all possess certain traits in the way that they think. The three elements of the police personality that he focuses on are danger, authority and efficiency.

Observers of the police have noted that individuals who are more “cynical, authoritative, suspicious, brutal” seem more likely to become officers. Others argue that the nature of the job will turn an average person into a person with the police personality. One of the most well known studies of the police personality is that of Jerome Skolnick. Skolnick focuses on three elements of his profile of the “working personality” as he refers to it. The three elements are danger, authority, and efficiency. The working personality develops with danger. Danger makes the officer more suspicious of people that they think might be committing crimes. This ties into the theory of the text that the career of a police officer attracts people who are more suspicious and cynical than average. When danger and authority are mixed they can make the officer feel isolated in the community. People in the community can feel disconnected from the police because of the power that officers possess. This leads to officers feeling that they have to protect each other and to the use of deception by officers. The “blue wall of silence” is a term used to describe a situation where an officer is expected to back up a fellow officers story, even if they do not agree with what happened. Police say that deception is necessary in their job in order to be an efficient officer. Lying is a way for an officer to get around restrictions in place by the courts and get the criminal off the streets. Some officers believe that the law favors the criminal. A situation where an officer may feel the need to lie would be an instance where the exclusionary rule...
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