An Examination of the Reasons for and Barriers to Choosing a Career as a Police Officer

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Vermeer, Sayer-Jane
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Middle Tennessee State University
With tensions between the police and community growing, there have been heightened concerns about what can be done to improve the relationship. One theory posited is that increasing representation in police organizations would result in the desired improvement. However, representation has long been an issue in police forces and there is little empirical research focusing on this topic. The present study sought to explore motivations and barriers to becoming a police officer to help build the foundation for this area of research. To do so, the barriers of lack of trust, police culture, practices of the police, and lack of awareness of career opportunities were examined. Results indicated that trust and practices were the most related to having an interest in a police career. As this was an exploratory study, there are many areas for future research that are discussed along with the limitations and implications of the current research.