Previously published as: Police Studies: Intnl Review of Police Development
Incorporates: American Journal of Police
Online from: 1997
Subject Area: Industry and Public Sector Management
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|Title:||Explaining patrol officer drug arrest activity through expectancy theory|
|Author(s):||Richard R. Johnson, (Department of Criminal Justice, The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)|
|Citation:||Richard R. Johnson, (2009) "Explaining patrol officer drug arrest activity through expectancy theory", Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Vol. 32 Iss: 1, pp.6 - 20|
|Keywords:||Drug controls, Expectancy theory, Police, United States of America|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/13639510910937085 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to test the ability of expectancy motivation theory to explain patrol officer drug arrest productivity, with the hope of identifying ways to influence patrol officer work outputs.
Design/methodology/approach – According to expectancy motivational theory, the individual patrol officer's number of drug arrests should be explained by the expectation to make drug arrests, the capability to do so, the opportunity to do so, and the likelihood that these arrests will be rewarded. The present study used survey data from a sample of 401 municipal police officers representing 23 suburban police agencies in one metropolitan area in the Midwestern USA. Multivariate analysis was used to investigate correlations between the officers' perceived work environment characteristics and their individual drug offense arrest productivity.
Findings – As predicted, officers who produced the most drug arrests were more likely to have perceived that drug arrests were rewarded by their agency, perceived that management saw drug enforcement as a priority, received specialized training in drug interdiction, and perceived that they had sufficient time in their shift to properly investigate suspected drug offenses.
Research limitations/implications – The limitations of this study include the fact that the sample is limited to suburban police officers in one metropolitan area, and the reliance on primarily self-reported data on officer arrest outputs.
Practical implications – The present study lends further support to the use of expectancy motivation theory as a viable framework for managing patrol officer work outputs in a law enforcement organization.
Originality/value – The present study holds value for police administrators who seek to better manage patrol officer behavior in the field. It also holds value for scholars of policing who seek to better understand how the organizational work environment influences general tendencies in officer arrest behavior.
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