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In Pursuit of Police Professionalism: The Development and Assessment of a Conceptual Model of Professionalism in Law Enforcement

Schneider, Jeffrey Alan (2009) In Pursuit of Police Professionalism: The Development and Assessment of a Conceptual Model of Professionalism in Law Enforcement. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Adherence to the highest standards and fundamentals of professionalism is essential to the profession of law enforcement. Police professionalism has many meanings but no definitive model of professionalism in policing has been established. Historically, the idea of policing as a profession has emerged slowly. The professional model, as proposed in this research, seeks to define a working model of professionalism in policing. It is proposed that police work is a "true profession," similar to the professions of medicine, law, and education. Advocates of any professional model of policing argue that police officers are experts through training, certification, education, and experience, and thus should be viewed as professionals in every sense of the term. In selecting the criteria for this developmental model of professionalism, a content analysis of the literature was conducted in order to define key elements of professionalism and professionalism in policing. The development of this descriptive profile resulted in the conceptualization of a professional model utilizing nine criteria, or attributes: high standards of recruitment and selection (civil service), formal education (college) requirements, formal training (police academy) and state certification, state-mandated (annual) specialized training and re-certification, sworn police officers empowered to arrest, armed police officers (firearms), formal policies (departmental) for operations and function, community policing (commitment and service), and accreditation. Select specialists (N=25) in the field of criminal justice - law enforcement practitioners and higher education faculty - were sampled to assess the proposed model. The focus of this study was that professionalism in policing could be defined and achieved by meeting the established criteria as proposed by the Professional Model of Policing. The results indicate the majority of the specialists in this study felt the proposed model was acceptable, and could serve as a basic blueprint of professionalism in law enforcement, or "ideal type", pending further relevant research on police professionalism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Schneider, Jeffrey Alanjschneid@pitt.eduJSCHNEID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNelson, Glenngmnelson@pitt.eduGMNELSON
Committee MemberHughes, Seanshughes@pitt.eduSHUGHES
Committee MemberZullo, Thomaszullo@pitt.eduZULLO
Committee MemberAustin,
Date: 15 June 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 March 2009
Approval Date: 15 June 2009
Submission Date: 24 April 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: law enforcement; model; police; professionalism
Other ID:, etd-04242009-111408
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:42
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:42


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