SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: White, Michael D. (March 2008). Identifying Good Cops Early: Predicting Recruit Performance in the Academy. Police Quarterly, 11(1): 27-49.

LOs 6-1 and 6-2

Police departments have traditionally assessed their performance through crime-related activity measures that often have little to do with good police work and offer little hope for prediction of exemplary performance. This article suggests some progress can be made in predicting superior performance by considering an earlier stage in a police officer's career where performance is well-defined and measurable: the police academy. Using recruit performance data (n = 1,556) from a large metropolitan police department, the article uses linear and logistic regression, as well as Chi-square Automatic Indicator Detector (CHIAD), to identify predictors of superior performance in the academy. A number of interesting findings emerge with regard to factors that offer predictive value—reading level, age, gender, and race—and those that do not—college education, military experience, and residency. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for recruitment, selection, and training, as well as for measuring and predicting performance on the street.


Article 2: Mastrofski, Stephen D. (May 2004). Controlling Street-Level Police Discretion.The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 593(1): 100-118.

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The Committee to Review Research on Police Policy and Practices’ Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence provides a review of research on the causes of street-level police behavior, but the report offers little insight into how to control that discretion effectively. This is not due to deficiencies in the report but rather to limitations of the available research. This article discusses four problems with that research: underdeveloped theory, weak research designs, insufficient generalizability of findings, and inattention to the kinds of police discretion that really matter to policymakers, practitioners, and the public. The article gives special attention to the last problem and makes recommendations for improving the quality of research to better inform choices about how to control police street level discretion.


Article 3: Reasons, Charles E., Teresa Francis & David Kim (November 2010). The Ideology of Homicide Detectives: A Cross-National Study. Homicide Studies, 14(4): 436-452.

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Ideologies help guide our behavior and thought processes and have been largely neglected when studying crime and criminal justice professionals. Intensive interviews were conducted with homicide detectives in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia to provide a view of their working beliefs and opinions concerning a number of issues. The areas questioned included (a) working environment, (b) causes of homicide, (c) television portrayal of homicide work, and (d) the death penalty. Within each area several questions were asked. Although homicide detectives in both cities and countries gave similar responses to many questions, they differed significantly in terms of the role of guns, particularly handguns, in homicide rates, the death penalty, and their relationship to the prosecutor/crown. Therefore, although their constellation of beliefs (ideologies) surrounding the above noted topics were in many ways similar, there were distinct differences. The areas of difference can be understood within the larger legal and cultural context.