Judgment Review for Police Officer Exam Study Guide
What is judgment? A dictionary definition will say something like the ability to see and distinguish relationships or alternatives. Another definition might talk about the ability to think critically and make reasonable decisions based on existing information. Some people equate judgment to common sense.
Police officers must make many decisions in the course of their patrol duties. Despite the existence of procedure manuals and directives, these could never cover every event and the way that event might unfold. If a police department tried to put every situation that could occur into its manual, that manual would be literally too heavy to pick up.
Since it would be impossible for police departments to put applicants into real-world situations to observe their decision-making capabilities, they rely on different types of testing to do this for them. Most written exams will have a section where judgment is tested through multiple-choice questions. You will read a brief passage, usually one describing a police-related situation, and you will be given choices about what action you should take. To answer correctly, you will need to use your common sense, good judgment, and, of course, good reading skills because if you misunderstand the situation presented to you, you are likely to apply the wrong solution.
Some tests achieve the same results by showing the candidates brief videos and asking them to verbally answer questions similar to those they would otherwise have read. The video presentations are less common; they add expense to the testing and run the risk of technical difficulties that prevent all candidates from having the same chance to see the situation clearly. They may also be more difficult for the candidate because unless there are provisions for the videos to be replayed, you do not have the opportunity to reconsider your answer as you do with a question you read in a test booklet.
Whichever mechanism is used in your test—reading the questions from a booklet or viewing the situations on video—judgment questions fall into two general categories: situational judgment and application of rules and procedures. This section looks at each category and provides samples to help you analyze your abilities in this area.
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