Evaluating Police Professional Status

Warren Wylupski, University of New Mexico

ABSTRACT
Current and future implementations in policing need to recognize and react to how officers attain professional status. The rank and file will not easily adopt police initiatives that hinder their overall attainment of status. New implementations that focus on developing the officers intellectually may falter, since purity of knowledge seems to be less important than status gained by becoming involved in risky situations and providing backup to the fellow officers. Hands-dirty status attainment appears central to the law enforcement profession. This intraprofessional status attainment type seems to provide officers with a way of effectively interacting with the public, while providing them with status from their peer officers. Since hands-dirty status is not yet recognized in the new police implementations, officers are not fully afforded the status made available through hands on approaches to policing. By recognizing hands-dirty status, police administrators may be able to take advantage of this status attainment type to develop methods to motivate patrol officers. The future direction of policing should look to find ways to implement new policing models that will reduce crime, while recognizing the status motive as a tool to generate change in police practices leading to improvements in the quality of police service.

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Updated 05/20/2006