Date of Award

Summer 2022

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access

First Advisor

Nicole Frisch-Scott


Directives and duties of law enforcement have changed drastically over time. Today there is little agreement within society regarding what is needed and wanted from police. Even within the police ranks, it is unclear whether there is a single view of what “good” police work is (and if so, what that looks like). An officer may learn what “good” policing is from numerous channels including departmental missions, informal cultures, personal characteristics, and community contexts. Officers’ opinions may also derive from personal beliefs about policing, personality traits, and/or attitudes toward police work. The purpose of this study is to determine what new officers believe “good” policing is, assess from where these officers learn what “good” policing is, and examine how new officers spend their time. To answer these questions, qualitative interviews were conducted via video/phone call with new police officers from Northeastern Massachusetts. Two researchers used open and selective coding to analyze participants’ responses, identifying themes and patterns. Findings suggest that new police officers believe community policing activities, being visible to the public, interacting with people, and proactive policing (apprehending offenders) are the tenants of “good” police work. These new officers learned the most from their field training officer programs and from their experience on the job, rather than through formal training. In light of these findings, the future of policing should consider the importance of community policing, the strength of informal channels of communication among officers, and align promotional criteria with what officers think “good” policing is. Implications for future research and the field of policing are discussed.