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The Relationship Of Personality To The Organization

Find a Jung- or Myers-Briggs-based free personality test online to   use for this assignment. Take the test and keep a record of your characteristics.

In a 1,250-1,500-word essay complete the following:

  1. Describe how an individual’s personality may impact an   organization.
  2. Align traits found in the article “Police     Chiefs Discuss the Most Important Commodity in Law Enforcement”     to your current job situation or the career you hope to have in the   future.
  3. Based on the personality inventory, apply how     your personality characteristics impact the current organization you     work for or hope to work for in the future.
  4. Describe     how a person’s behaviors and actions correlate to their level     of commitment and dedication.
  5. Use three additional     empirical research articles to support your discussion.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA   Style Guide, attach a turnitin report

Police Chiefs Discuss the Most Important Commodity in Law Enforcement

Home • 2015 • October • The Right Person for the Job: Police Chiefs Discuss the Most Important Commodity in Law Enforcement…

The Right Person for the Job: Police Chiefs Discuss the Most Important Commodity in Law Enforcement

By Susan Hilal, Ph.D., and James Densley, Ph.D.


Hiring new personnel is a necessity for every organization. The challenge is finding the right people to do the job and contribute to the agency. This especially holds true in law enforcement where hiring the wrong person could be detrimental for the officer, the community, the department, and the profession as a whole. The

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Dr. Hilal is a professor with the Metropolitan State University School

of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

Dr. Densley is an associate professor with the Metropolitan State University School of Law Enforcement and Criminal

Justice in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

real solution lies in planting high-quality people in law enforcement positions.

As a follow-up to a May 2013 article published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, “Higher Education and Local Law Enforcement,” the authors developed a research project to determine what types of people make the best law enforcement candidates.[1] They surveyed police chiefs in Minnesota to identify the skills and qualifications needed to be a police officer today and in the future and to ask the chiefs what their departments do to screen individuals for these abilities.

Qualitative Study

For the qualitative study in spring 2014, 31 chiefs from the 10 largest police agencies (defined by number of officers) in Minnesota and 40 other randomly chosen departments with three or more officers within the state consented to semistructured interviews that lasted from 20 minutes to 3 hours to address hiring issues in their organizations.[2] The sample excluded state, county, and university law enforcement agencies.

The authors chose to conduct the study in Minnesota because it has the most stringent state requirements in the country for hiring law enforcement officers.[3] Minnesota’s process differs from other states in that police officer candidates possess a 2- or 4-year degree from a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) – approved school, successfully complete a police academy, and pass a comprehensive licensing exam just to be eligible to apply.[4]

Not everyone can afford the time and money necessary to become license eligible. Some of the police chiefs noted that these strict requirements could unintentionally eliminate candidates who lack awareness of and access to the licensing network. Therefore, law enforcement in Minnesota suffers from an inherent selection bias. This is exacerbated by the fact that many young people are called to a social media or television version of law enforcement that does not truly reflect reality.[5]

By completing all of the requirements prior to applying, candidates display the commitment and desire to be police officers. The problem is that simply wanting to be an officer does not necessarily mean the person is best suited to the profession. With the Minnesota licensing model, every applicant sends the same signal—the requirements essentially create a homogeneous candidate pool. Therefore, the onus is on individual law enforcement agencies to screen and

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The real solution lies in planting high-quality people in law enforcement positions.

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select the highest quality applicants to wear the badge.

Applicant Qualities

Chiefs have a stake in selecting future law enforcement officers. During the study interviews, one chief stated that leaders could be fired for something they personally did not do because they ultimately are responsible and held accountable. Consequently, when police chiefs go to sleep at night, they must have 100 percent faith and trust in their officers.

When asked what qualities today’s officers should possess, the chiefs agreed on unblemished character; high-quality work ethic; excellent communication skills; technical expertise; capacity to think independently and evaluate a situation; first- rate problem-solving aptitude; exceptional interpersonal skills; analytical and customer-service abilities; and common sense. Individuals do not necessarily acquire these traits through formal education and training. Many of the police chiefs emphasized that life experience matters.

The chiefs felt they could teach recruits the mechanics of the job if they possessed the right characteristics. This creates challenges for the hiring process because these traits are not easily observed or revealed through conventional testing procedures. To find applicants with the necessary qualities, departments use a variety of techniques, most notably background investigations and scenario-based questions.

The study participants repeatedly stated that they look for histories of volunteerism. Being a volunteer is a sign that the person is willing to serve others. In a profession with the motto “to protect and serve,” this characteristic is important. One chief said that volunteerism is an indication of commitment. It can be something simple, like singing in a church choir. The small things that make life better show that the individual cares and is dedicated to the community. Leaders concurred that volunteerism is notable and that they look for people who want to be involved because they encourage their officers to be active in the communities they serve.

Most of the chiefs specified that they did not care where the volunteerism took place; however, they indicated that serving as a reserve officer is an excellent stepping-stone to the profession. One chief explained that departments try to hire their own. Another indicated that being a reserve officer gets the individual an automatic interview and that in a hiring situation with two relatively equal candidates where one is a reserve officer and the other is not, that reserve status comes into play.

Previous paid work experience is another indicator agencies use to select quality officers. Police chiefs were not concerned with where the candidates worked, but, rather, how and why they worked. For example, the chiefs were more interested in whether the individuals were accountable, reliable, consistently in attendance, and involved in independent decision making or anything customer-service related.

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…wanting to be an officer does not necessarily mean the person is best suited to the profession.

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Being people oriented is paramount. One chief indicated that it does not matter if candidates served as bartenders or bouncers; what they need to have is the ability to talk to people.

Communication Concerns

A dilemma regarding many new millennial-era (from 1982 until approximately 20 years after) recruits is their limited interpersonal communication skills. One police chief recalled interviewing a young applicant and thinking that if the individual could have texted the answers to the questions the person would have aced the interview.

When describing why an officer did not succeed in field training, one leader stated that the person lacked the ability to multitask and communicate. In a society of social media and text messaging, candidates often lack sociability. Organizations are facing the reality of the baby boom generation retiring and their replacements coming from a group that presents both challenges and opportunities for recruitment and training.[6]

Formal Education

Many of the police chiefs looked for candidates with formal education; however, because all applicants in Minnesota must have a 2-year degree, they gravitated toward candidates with 4-year degrees. These leaders had varied opinions regarding whether a 4-year degree truly matters. This same debate has existed for decades in academic literature.[7]

Some study participants indicated that a bachelor’s degree builds a more well- rounded individual because it shows critical thinking, maturity, and the ability to commit to something long-term. Several departments not only gave preference to bachelor’s degree candidates but also compensated them more or offered tuition reimbursement to pursue higher education in the future. For officers expected to work on grants or neighborhood assistance programs, degree skills are tested, and the value of a 4-year education is clear. Still, the police chiefs conceded that head and heart are more important than a diploma.

Profession Realities

The consensus from the chiefs was that they are looking for team players who are compassionate, ethical, and empathetic. They want someone who does the right thing when nobody is around; thinks independently, quickly, and “outside the box”; and demonstrates a solid work ethic and strong verbal and written communication skills. The problem is that people who self-select into law enforcement professions do not necessarily meet these standards.

Images on television and social media often give prospective candidates a false representation of what the job actually entails. Currently, police officer education and training continues to emphasize assessing threats and conducting tactical

…the chiefs…are looking for team players who are compassionate, ethical, and empathetic.

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protocols, which provides recruits with a limited view of the responsibilities of the position. An “us versus them” mentality that alienates officers from the communities they serve can occur.

Police chiefs in the study conveyed that some candidates failed the field training officer (FTO) process because they did not understand the realities of the

profession or the job was not what they expected. This is not surprising when factoring in the media’s depiction of law enforcement. In this study, during the recruitment process police chiefs emphasized the importance of people skills, not tactical skills. The ability to drive a tank or wield an M-16 assault rifle was not among the characteristics the chiefs looked for in new recruits.


The solution to finding quality officers and improving the community’s confidence in law enforcement lies in the recruitment process. The challenge for educational institutions is to demythologize police work and to identify and recruit candidates who possess the right characteristics for the profession.

If colleges and universities fulfill their obligation, they will graduate the types of candidates that police chiefs desire and their communities deserve. In turn, police departments must screen applicants who potentially have these sought-after traits and eliminate those not suited to wear a badge. This requires a concerted effort to improve the recruitment and selection process. After all, the most important commodity in law enforcement is the police officer.

For additional information Dr. Hilal can be reached at, and Dr. Densley can be contacted at


[1] Susan Hilal and James Densley, “Higher Education and Local Law Enforcement,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, May 2013, accessed May 26, 2015,

[2] The Human Subjects Committee at Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota, authorized the research project. All participants gave their informed consent to be interviewed. Interviews were not recorded.

[3] Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), “How to Become a Peace Officer in Minnesota,” accessed May 26, 2015, to-become.aspx.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Victor E. Kappeler and Gary W. Potter, The Mythology of Crime and Criminal

Justice, 4th ed. (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2005).

[6] For information on millennials replacing baby boomers in policing, see Jeremy M. Wilson, Erin Dalton, Charles Scheer, and Clifford A. Grammich, Police Recruitment and Retention for the New Millennium: The State of Knowledge (Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2010), accessed May 28, 2015,

[7] For other studies on higher education in law enforcement, see Lisa Kay Decker and Robert G. Huckabee, “Raising the Age and Education Requirements for Police Officers: Will Too Many Women and Minority Candidates Be Excluded?” Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 25, no. 4 (2002): 789-802, accessed May 26, 2015,; Hilal and Densley, “Higher Education and Local Law Enforcement”; Susan M. Hilal and Timothy E. Erickson, “The Minnesota Police Education Requirement: A Recent Analysis,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, June 2010, 17-21, accessed May 26, 2015, recent-analysis; Eugene A. Paoline III and William Terrill, “Police Education, Experience, and the Use of Force,” Criminal Justice and Behavior 34, no. 2 (February 2007): 179-196; Roy Roberg and Scott Bonn, “Higher Education and Policing: Where Are We Now?” Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 27, no. 4 (2004): 469-486, accessed May 26, 2015,; and Jason Rydberg and William Terrill, “The Effect of Higher Education on Police Behavior,” Police Quarterly 13, no. 1 (2010): 92-120.

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