- distrustful of outsiders
- conservative (not necessarily politically, but rather resistant to change)
- and holding other widely-shared attitudes about and beyond the mainstream view. (ref. 7 & 8)
Other researchers in the police personality field generally agree with Skolnick's analysis, citing additional traits of the working personality as conventionality and distrust of the unusual, with a good policeman suspecting evil wherever he goes. (ref. 9)
Interestingly, a more in depth reading of many of these researchers, particularly Skolnick, seems to reveal a bias against the development and existence of this working personality and concern over its potential contribution to individual and systemic law enforcement abuses of power. There is some understanding of how the working personality develops and why, and even acknowledges that it enhances the effectiveness of officers as they do their job and is a product of occupational socialization that creates and nurtures it.
If there is, in fact, a characteristic police personality, it is likely this termed the working personality. To a great extent, we believe the working personality is a necessary part of the working cop but our concern is when it overrides or supplants the officer's primary personality. The personality traits the officer brings to the job are those that seemingly suit him or her for police work, and that are sought by agencies. How unfortunate, then, if those traits are lost to the officer, his family and friends, the agency and the community. How much better if your primary personality, the one you have formed through a lifetime of experience, can meld beneficially with your working personality, so both are tempered and made stronger. Our concern is always a holistic approach to officer survival, and that includes urging you ensure the dominant personality you brought to the job coexists with the one you have had to build to be a successful cop; bring your best self to the job, and take care to never lose that best self doing the job.
We are interested in your thoughts about personality and policing. Does law enforcement require a certain type of personality, or does it create the personalities that populate it? Do most cops develop a working personality in addition to the one they came in with, or does it replace it? Or is the working personality a myth, after all? Are there any dangers cops face because of their on duty personalities? Can a police officer's off-duty and on-duty personalities coexist, or will one always dominate?