The impact of alienation on police officers' sense of mastery and their subsequent willingness to participate in proactive enforcement
The primary purpose of the present study was to test the sociological concept of alienation as developed by several classical and contemporary social scholars, particularly Marx (1844, 1846, 1867); Simmel (1950, 1971); Fromm (1941, 1955); and Seeman (1959). It investigated if an inverse relationship existed between the level of alienation as perceived by police officers from citizens in the community where they patrolled, and their sense of mastery and willingness to respond proactively to serious crime. It hypothesized as the level of alienation increased between police officers and citizens in the community where they patrolled, they would also report a lower level of mastery, willingness to proactively enforce the law, and willingness to proactively enforce the law since recent highly publicized judicial verdicts against police officers, such as incidents involving Rodney King, Malice Green, and O. J. Simpson. In addition, it hypothesized that officers working in communities having a higher degree of urbanism would also report more perceived alienation, less sense of mastery, and less willingness to proactively enforce the law. Finally, the study examined the relationship of gender, age, race, rank, seniority, education, marital status, and residency, to the predicted alienation-mastery-proactive policing sequence.^ The hypotheses were tested with data obtained from surveying 272 uniformed police officers ranked as a lieutenant or below from eleven police departments in the Midwest United States. Selection of the departments was by a non-probability judgmental sampling method.^ Findings demonstrated that alienation correlated with the dependent variables of mastery, proactive enforcement, and proactive enforcement since verdicts in the correct direction, and were statistically significant at 0.01 levels with the former two variables and at a 0.05 level with the latter variable. Significance was not found with the hypothesis regarding the degree of urbanism. However, significance was found with "Age" where younger officers generally had more sense of mastery, willingness for proactive enforcement, and willingness for proactive enforcement since verdicts; and with "Race" where white officers generally had a higher level of mastery but less willingness for proactive enforcement. ^
Psychology, Industrial|Sociology, Criminology and Penology
Robert Camille Ankony,
"The impact of alienation on police officers' sense of mastery and their subsequent willingness to participate in proactive enforcement"
(January 1, 1997).
ETD Collection for Wayne State University.