Society's automaton: An existential perspective on police training and stress management education

Paul E Sylvestre, Salve Regina University


The purpose of this study was to examine the issue of police training techniques and the perceived antiquated ideology within the profession of law enforcement. This ideology which endorses the masculine image of physical and psychological toughness and the suppression of natural human emotions despite its considerable impact on an individual’s psyche and the perceptions of weakness associated with someone in policing who may succumb to the detrimental consequences of cumulative stress. This study attempted to determine if the current construct of basic recruit training, as well as supplemental departmental in-service instruction, within the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island focus their attention and resources toward the crime fighting and physical fitness component of policing at the expense of adequate attention being placed upon the predominant community service obligations, thus insufficiently preparing an individual to assume the duties of a police officer in contemporary society. A questionnaire was designed by the researcher based upon a Likert scale which was made available only to the uniform patrol officers, excluding supervisors, from qualifying municipal departments within the three participating states provided they attended the same academy. The data revealed an influence of the informal social norms of a police organization and willingness to conform on the part of an individual in order to gain acceptance. The data also revealed that regardless of the construct of the training academies within the three participating states the focus and attention is predominately in the crime fighting aspects of policing, which is perceived by the officers participating in this study to have not properly prepared them to assume the duties of a police officer. Overall officers’ recognized cumulative stress as real, but it is not adequately anticipated in the training academies nor adequately addressed later on by in-service programs or the informal police sub-culture.

Subject Area

Social research|Criminology|Health education

Recommended Citation

Sylvestre, Paul E, "Society's automaton: An existential perspective on police training and stress management education" (2015). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI3725287.