A comparison of the relationships between level of education, job performance, and beliefs on professionalism within the Virginia State Police

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Virginia Tech


Most police administrators assume that the higher level of education a police officer attains, the more effective the officer will become in fulfilling the police role. Based on this assumption, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of level of education on job performance and beliefs toward professionalism within the Virginia State Police.

This study analyzed a sample group (n = 150) chosen from the population of the Virginia State Police. The sample was divided into three distinct groups--troopers with a high school/GED, troopers with an associate's degree, and troopers with a bachelor's degree to include graduate work. Data was collected on the study participants by means of a survey instrument and from personnel files located at Virginia State Police Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.

The independent variables for this study were: education level, major in college, and specialized training schools attended by troopers. These variables were examined to determine their influence on job performance and beliefs toward professionalism. The dependent variables were associated with the trooper's orientation toward law enforcement activities by education level. The dependent variables were public service activity, order maintenance activity, crime fighting activity, public and community relations, police ethical conduct, personnel issues, and job performance ratings. College major and specialized training schools attended were primarily examined to determine if any significant differences were evident in relation to job performance evaluation ratings.

The results of this study determined that there were significant differences found in the areas of personnel issues, length of service, age, and number of awards and citations. Troopers who had a high school/GED scored significantly different in the areas of length of employment, age, and awards and citations. Measurements for troopers who had college degrees were found to be significantly different in personnel issues, especially in areas involving views on education, promotion, evaluation, and participation by community leaders in organizational development.

In relation to beliefs toward professionalism, job performance, college major, or specialized training schools attended, there were no significant differences found among the three levels of education.



law enforcement