Police Training: The Effect of the Academy on Recruit Attitudes toward the Community




Ghoston, Lauren

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Members of law enforcement are often categorized under a singular police culture or police personality that is highlighted by cynical attitudes and an “us versus them” mentality. The present study examines a cohort of police recruits enrolled in a police training academy on their attitudes toward typically disenfranchised groups (racial and ethnic minorities, women, members of the LGBT community, senior citizens, and juveniles) prior to and following their police training experience. Previous police research has focused largely on defining the police personality and most recently the interaction between the police and members of the community with regard to the community policing initiative. The current study examines if enrollment in the police training academy causes a change in recruit response to questions about the community. A comprehensive survey concerning various aspects of policing was administered to a cohort of police recruits enrolled in a training academy located in a large metropolitan area before and after the academy experience. The amount of change from before and after the police academy is calculated; this difference is analyzed with a paired samples test for any significant difference in responses and with chi-square tests for associations with the participant’s race/ethnicity, age, gender, level of education, and prior experiences in the military or as a sworn officer in another jurisdiction. Understanding recruit attitudes and how they are influenced is crucial because these attitudes are believed to influence the decisions officers make in the field, namely who to stop and who to arrest. While no statistically significant relationships are identified, there are several trends presented within the data that may be useful to future researchers. Future research ideas are also explored.



Police training, Police academy, Attitudes, Community