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Can ethics survive the shock of the job? Quebec's police recruits confront reality

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Previous research has shown how skills acquired in different settings are gradually transformed into work strategies (McNamara 1967, Van Maanen 1973, 1974, 1977, Fielding 1988, Chan 2003). Other research has looked at the complex question of ethics and policing (Kappeler et al. 1998, Klokars et al. 2004). However, very few attempts have been made to understand how these two aspects, professional skills and ethical standpoints, gradually merge. We look at one particular aspect in the professional socialisation processes of young police officers - how new police officers deal with the ethical dilemmas they encounter. This paper presents the results obtained from a follow-up cohort study of 316 police recruits after their third year as newly sworn officers throughout Quebec's police forces.
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Keywords: cohort study; police career; police ethics; police training; professional socialisation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departement de Psychoeducation, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada 2: Departement de Psychologie, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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