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The Police Officer Suitability Test for Police Officer Exam Study Guide (page 3)

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Updated on Mar 16, 2011

Group 4—Authority/Leadership Questions

Add scores for questions 1, 10, 13, 18, 22, 25, 31, 34, 39, and 45.

TOTAL = _____

This group assesses the essential attributes of respect for rules and authority—including the personal authority of self-reliance and leadership—and the ability to resolve conflict and work with a team. Once again, a good balance is the key. Police officers must accept and communicate the value of structure and control without being rigid. And even though most decisions are made independently in the field, the authority of the supervisor and the law must be obeyed at all times. Anyone on a personal mission for justice or vengeance will not make a good police officer and is unlikely to make it through the screening process.

  • A score between 160 and 360 indicates you have the desired attitude toward authority—both your own and that of your superior officers. Any higher may indicate that you were trying too hard to give the "right" answers.
  • If you scored between 100 and 160, you might think about whether a demanding leadership role is something you want every day.
  • With scores between 0 and 100, ask yourself whether the required combination of structure and independence would be comfortable for you.

Group 5—Personal Style Attributes

Add up scores for questions 5, 9, 14, 20, 24, 29, 32, 36, 41, and 49.

TOTAL = _____

This is the personal style dimension, which describes how you come across to others. Moderation rules here as well: Police officers should be seen as strong and capable, but not dramatic or heavy-handed; friendly, but not overly concerned with whether they are liked; patient, but not to the point of losing control of a situation. A good sense of humor is essential, not only in the field, but also among one's fellow officers. Flexibility is another valuable trait—especially given all the changes that can happen in one shift—but too much flexibility can be perceived as weakness.

  • A score between 160 and 360 is optimal. If you scored over 360, you may be trying too hard.
  • Scores between 80 and 160 suggest that you compare your style with the preceding description and consider whether anything needs to be modified.
  • If you scored between 0 and 80, you might think about the way you interact with others and whether you would be happy in a job where people are the main focus.

Summary

The Police Officer Suitability Test reflects the fact that being a successful police officer requires moderation rather than extremes. Attitudes that are desirable in reasonable amounts can become a real problem if they are too strong. For example, independence is a necessary trait, but too much of it could result in an officer taking the law into his or her own hands. Going outside accepted police procedure is a bad idea; worse, it can put other people's lives in jeopardy.

As one recruiter said, the ideal police officer is "low key and low maintenance." In fact, there's only one thing you can't have too much of, and that's common sense. With everything else, balance is the key. Keep this in mind as you look at your scores.

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