|TITLE||Leadership Characteristics Among Command, Middle, And Line Level Police Department Personnel in the Era of Terrorism|
|RESEARCHER||(Mr.) Faith Tepe
College of Education
Spalding University (Kentucky)
Unpublished doctoral dissertation: August 2008
The primary purpose of this study was to analyze the perceived importance of leadership characteristics of law enforcement personnel in a large American Police Department.
The population in this survey (1,204) was all sworn personnel in the Louisville Metro Police Department, of which 230 participated (153 were Officers, 48 were Sergeants, 21 were Lieutenants, two were Captains, three were Majors, two were Lieutenant Colonels, and one was a Colonel). The typical respondent was in a patrol unit (63%), male (81%), between 35-50 years old (62%), with a bachelor’s degree (49%) and 11-20 years of experience (47%). The author re-labeled the Characteristics of Admired Leaders (CAL) checklist (Kouzes & Posner, 2002) as the Leadership Characteristics of an Admired Police Leader checklist, and modified the response scale to a five-point Likert scale, anchored by (1) not important to (5) very important.
The four most important leadership characteristics chosen by Line Level Personnel and Middle Level Personnel were honest, competent, dependable, and fair-minded. The four most important leadership characteristics chosen by Command Level Personnel were broad-minded, dependable, forward-looking, and honest. Additionally, honest, dependable, competent, and broad-minded were chosen as the four most important leadership characteristics by all level personnel.
The least important leadership characteristic chosen by Line Level Personnel was imaginative. Middle Level Personnel selected courageous as the least important leadership characteristic. Lastly, independent is chosen as the least important leadership characteristic by command level personnel. Moreover, courageous was chosen as the least important leadership characteristic by all level personnel.
No significant differences were found among the different characteristics of leadership for male and female police officers. The same result was found on the basis of respondent age and educational level. Only one of the twenty characteristics was significantly different on the basis of work experience (ambitious); and only one characteristic was significantly different across different unit divisions for police officers (loyal). In addition, only one characteristic (forward looking) was different according to officers’ rank.
The author concludes:
The findings of this study can be used to help law enforcement agencies in creating leadership development programs that can help law enforcement leaders and executives to be successful in today’s local and global environment (p. 121).