A comparison of training needs for patrol officers in the State of Mississippi as perceived by patrol officers and chief executives: 1984 vs. 2002

Julian Dale Allen

Abstract

T. E. Payne's 1984 study analyzed patrol officer perceived training and education needs expressed as criterion variables of Use of Deadly Force, Firearms, Pursuit Driving, Police Stress, Crisis Intervention, Officer Survival, Criminal Investigation, Criminal Law, and First Aid. Those perceived training and education needs were compared with the training and education needs of patrol officers as perceived by sheriffs/police chiefs. The 1984 and this 2002 replication obtained demographic data regarding gender, age, race, marital status, years in law enforcement, educational level, training characteristics, and department size. Using written survey data from patrol officers and sheriffs/chiefs representing 20 local law enforcement agencies, four hypotheses were evaluated using either the t test or Pearson r. Both studies agree there is no statistically significant difference in what sheriffs/chiefs and patrol officers believe to be the training and educational needs of patrol officers and their own level of training and education, only the three criterion variables of Firearms, Pursuit Driving, and Crisis Intervention had significant correlation in the 1984 study. In 2002 there was no significant correlation between sheriffs'/chiefs' training and education levels and any of the variables. In 1984 there was a significant relationship between the perceived educational and training needs of a patrol officer and the patrol officers' level of education and training, but only relative to Deadly Force, Crisis Intervention, Officer Survival, and Pursuit Driving. In 2002 only the perceived need of First Aid training was found to have significant correlation with patrol officers' training and education levels. Regarding correlation between patrol officers' perceived education and training needs and their years of service, the 1984 study found no significant correlation, while the 2002 study found significant correlation with First Aid training only. The study drew several conclusions as to why the 1984 and 2002 studies differed or agreed. Based on the data and the literature review, the study offered recommendations for re-evaluation of the mandated training curriculum for basic law enforcement, proposed legislation for mandate of community-oriented policing practice and training, and incorporation of community-oriented policing philosophy into the basic academy curriculum.