Police Background Characteristics and Performance: Summary

by Bernard Cohen, Jan M. Chaiken

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Background characteristics of officers who entered the New York City Police Department in 1957 were compared with available measures of their performance over 11 years. The study found that the strongest predictors of performance are available only after the officer has been on the force for several months; these are his grades in the police academy and his probationary evaluation. Among data available at the time of application, the following were found to be related to later performance in important ways: age, race, education, employment disciplinary actions, military disciplinary actions, arrest history (but this was not an indicator of later unsatisfactory performance), history of appearances in civil court, and the rating by the Police Department's background investigator. The officer's score on the initial civil service examination was related to later civil service examination grades, but not to other measures of performance used in this study. Includes recommendations to the NYCPD. This report is the summary of R-999-DOJ. 41 pp.

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