A two cohort study of the ethical orientations of state police officers

Dennis W. Catlin, James R. Maupin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The ethical orientations of two cohorts of officers in a large state police organization were identified using an ethical orientation questionnaire that measures scales of idealism and relativism. Cohort 1 was measured during the recruit academy and after one year on the job. Cohort 2 was measured at one year on the job and two years. This research examined the ethical orientations of these two cohorts, the ethical orientation differences between the two cohorts and characteristics associated with those differences. There were significant differences in the ethical orientations of Cohort 1 officers between the first and second measurement. New recruits tend toward the idealistic ethical dimension more than one-year officers. One-year officers tend more toward the relativistic ethical dimension than new recruits. Similar but non-significant differences were found in Cohort 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalPolicing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004


  • Police
  • Professional ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Public Administration
  • Law


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