Police Officers and Job Satisfaction

Criminal Justice is a very demanding field; this is especially true for police officers. They are called to put their lives on the line everyday in order to facilitate the law, in order to do their job. Employment satisfaction has a direct relationship to job performance in just about every field, including law enforcement. The goal is to conduct a research concerning police officers and segregated factors that affect their overall job satisfaction. In order to produce the most accurate results, two research methodologies will be implemented. The research conducted will include surveys as well as a field research.

The purpose of this study is to determine which factors weigh the heaviest upon police officers and their job satisfaction. In any job situation, an employee who is satisfied with their position will perform far better than those who are not. Organizational culture has a tremendous weight in police job satisfaction as well. Knowing that an individual’s employer will support their decisions can “influence the commitment of its members to the organization beyond themselves.” (Willmott 1993) Education has also been argued to have an effect on employment satisfaction. For this proposed research three variables will be considered. Education, organizational culture, and societal support will be used to determine which factor, or factors, plays a role in employee satisfaction.

The type of interview structure that will be implemented for this proposed research will be a qualitative data-gathering strategy through surveys and field research. The surveys will administered as an anonymous predetermined set of questions used to weigh the factors that affect police job satisfaction the most. The survey will be between ten to fifteen questions, short enough to not lose the interest of the participant. By implementing it anonymously, there is a greater likelihood of honestly and more accurate outcomes. The second form of interview structure will be field research. The research will be broken down into three different participation groups, education, organizational culture, and societal support. The research will be based on performance, complaints, and violations to name a few, for each of the three variables. For example, in Precinct One, there are five police officers who have obtained Master Level education, how does their field performance reflect their job satisfaction? Is there a signification correlation between a police officers education and their performance when they are in the field? This example of field surveying will be used for all three variables of education, organizational culture, and societal support.

The questionnaire would be sampled after one found in a previous study in College of Police and Security Studies, Slovenia. Questions would include the following: (Krejei, Pavel; Jaroslav Kvapil; & Jiri Semrad 1996)

Do you feel that you have job security?

Do you feel your organization supports your decisions?

Do you get a feeling of self-esteem from doing your job?

Do you feel you have had the adequate education to fulfill your job requirements?

Do you receive regard from others in the organization?

Does your community support the police?

Do you have opportunity for independent thought and action in your job?

Do you feel you have authority in your work?

Do you feel like you are an expert in your field?

These questions are used to measure the level of job satisfaction that each police officer has. Asking a variety questions in a different way will show the collective level of satisfaction in each category.

There are several advantages to using qualitative data-gathering. It is a nonstatistical way to measure a specific topic. The collection of information is adequately done through interviews and observations. A small sample is often enough to validate a conclusion in a qualitative research. Quantitative research typically demands a much large sample, deductive approaches, structured interviews, and standardized measuring. The results are usually analyzed through a form of statistical techniques. Both forms of research are intended for a purpose, however, quantitative research has far more demands and stipulations to be able to get to the end result.

It is important, when conduction a survey research, to provide informed consent and ensure confidentiality. To get true and accurate results from any form of study or research, it is important to let the participants know that their answers are used only for the survey, and in no means can their answers incriminate them. Anonymity with police officers may be viewed as more important than in other professions. No employee, regardless of the type of career will incriminate themselves for a study. That is why confidentiality goes a long way in a successful research.

The proposed research for police job satisfaction will weigh factors in education, organizational culture, and societal support. These factors have shown to be weighing variables in relationship to employees being happy in their profession. The research methodologies will be done through a qualitative data-gathering strategy in surveys and field research. The end results will show which, if any, of these three factors has a role with police officers and their overall job satisfaction.