The place of civilians in policing

Megan Alderden*, Wesley G. Skogan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the correlates of job satisfaction among civilian employees of law enforcement agencies, to assess how features of the policing workplace influence employee morale. Design/methodology/approach: The data for this study were drawn from surveys conducted as part of the National Police Research Platform. In total, 472 civilians from 19 police agencies completed the survey. Findings: The findings indicate that contentment with pay and benefits, lower levels of work-related stress, equality in the workplace, and feelings of acceptance were associated with civilian employee satisfaction. Research limitations/implications: The analyses presented here focusses on factors more unique to policing and did not include all of factors correlated with job satisfaction in past literature. Future research should address this as well as control for the effect of organizational-level factors. Practical implications: The research identifies key factors in each of those categories that inhibit the effective incorporation of civilians into the workforce. It indicates that reaping the full advantages of civilianization is complex and requires attention to fundamental aspects of police organizations. How administrators deal with this reality will impact the efficiency and effectiveness of their organizations in important ways. Originality/value: To date, much of what has been written about the place of civilians in policing consists of descriptions of their numeric representation and discussions of the presumed advantages of hiring them in larger numbers. Less is known about how well civilians have been integrated into the policing workforce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-284
Number of pages26
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Civilians
  • Job satisfaction
  • Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Public Administration
  • Law


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