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Recurrent police-public conflict suggests misalignment in desired police behavior between police and the public. We explored differences in desired police characteristics between police and members of the American public. Although racial minorities endorsed more negative attitudes of police overall, we found no meaningful differences in desired police characteristics between police and the public or between racial minority and majority participants. Second, we combined multiple criterion-related validation studies in similar jobs via meta-analyses and synthetic validity analyses to identify personality predictors of police performance dimensions. Third, we assessed base rates and adverse impact of these personality characteristics in police. Incumbent officers scored significantly lower on desired characteristics and higher on undesired characteristics than applicants. Overall, scales measuring Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Excitability, and Skepticism seem job-relevant across samples, predictive of performance, and unlikely to cause adverse impact. Focusing on these characteristics in hiring could contribute to positive changes in police performance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Corresponding Author Information

Chase A. Winterberg




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