Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Volume 39, Issue 4, Page 710-722, November 2016.
Purpose When patrol officers experience poor job satisfaction and make the decision to leave their profession, their departments face the cost of recruiting and training new officers. The purpose of this paper is to develop a new measure that could be used by police departments to identify specific dimensions of job satisfaction in their officers so that appropriate interventions could be made before officers reach the point of ending their employment. Design/methodology/approach To enhance widespread applicability of the new measure, the 221 study participants were from convenience samples of patrol officers in the USA and Turkey (95.9 percent male; mean age=29.4 years; mean service=5.9 years). Officers completed anonymous surveys to report individual and departmental demographics, to give satisfaction ratings for a variety of aspects of their work environment, and to report other psychosocial variables that might be used to assess validity of job satisfaction dimensions. Findings Exploratory factor analysis produced the 14-item Patrol Officer Job Satisfaction Scale (POJSS) with three dimensions: supervisor fairness, peer comradery, occupational pride. The three POJSS dimensions showed acceptable goodness-of-fit, internal reliability, and test-retest reliability. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated no significant associations between nine individual and department demographics (gender, age, marital status, education, service years, weekly work hours, nation, city location, number of officers) and any of the three POJSS dimensions. Research limitations/implications One limitation of the present study was that it included only convenience samples of patrol officers from the USA and Turkey. Future research could conduct confirmatory factor analyses on more diverse and representative samples of patrol officers from various international locations to determine if they also perceive the same three POJSS dimensions of job satisfaction (supervisor fairness, peer comradery, occupational pride). Practical implications Police departments could use the POJSS as an assessment tool to identify any problems of poor job satisfaction in their patrol officers so they could provide targeted improvements. For example, if patrol officers report low ratings for supportive peers, some scholars have recommended the formation of officer support groups (Johnson, 2012; Pienaar et al., 2007; Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2002; Scott, 2004; Stamper and Johlke, 2003; Toch, 2002; Walker et al., 2006). Social implications If patrol officers report low ratings for supervisor fairness, peer comradery, and occupational pride, police departments could arrange leadership seminars, hold “Clear the Air” meetings or anonymous surveys to allow patrol officers to identify specific improvements they suggest to improve these components of job satisfaction. Originality/value Research on police officer job satisfaction has been increasing in recent decades, but is still relatively sparse when compared to the study of employee job satisfaction in the private sector and other areas of government. Recent research on police job satisfaction has typically included law enforcement officers with a wide range of ranks, rather than focusing solely on patrol officers. Also, the few studies that focus on job satisfaction in patrol officers used either secondary data (Ingram and Lee, 2015) or re-evaluated data over eight-year old (Johnson, 2012). Especially with the recent turbulent events seen between community members and their front-line police officers (including in the USA and Turkey), available research may have missed the most important dimensions of job satisfaction for present patrol officers supporting the measure's widespread relevance.