Reading Comprehension for Police Officer Exam Study Guide (page 3)

Updated on Mar 16, 2011


  1. b. Choice b comes most directly from the passage, which provides you with the year 1983 and which falls within the definition of the early 1980s. Choice a is not supported by the passage. Choice c is not related to information in the passage. Choice d may have tricked you if you knew that Lee Brown left Houston to become the police commissioner in New York City. Choice d makes an important point: Do not let knowledge that is not part of the passage influence your choice of answers.
  2. c. The passage is very specific as to who or what the network of trust referred to. Notice that choices a and d use the word only, one of the absolutes you were reminded earlier to give careful consideration to when answering questions.
  3. d. Choice a is incorrect because the passage states that Brown and others believed; choice b again presents outside information that may confuse you (Brown became the mayor of Houston many years after he instituted community policing); choice c is not discussed in the passage.
  4. d. A good title should express the main idea of the passage. In this passage, the main idea comes at the end. You should read first sentences and last sentences very carefully because they often summarize the main idea of the passage, on which the title will often be based. While this is not always true, it is smart reading to check these sentences first whenever a question asks you to indicate the main idea or a suggested title.
  5. a. Even if you do not know the definition of the word touted, since the paragraph speaks positively about community policing, the other words do not fit the passage.

Practice Passage 2

Over the years there has been some evidence that crime rates are linked to social trends such as demographic and socioeconomic changes. Crime statistics showed a decline in the post-World War II era of the 1940s and 1950s. Following the Vietnam War in the 1970s, however, reported crime was on the rise, only to be followed by lower numbers of reported crimes in the 1980s. One of the reasons for these fluctuations appears to be age. When the population is younger, as it was in the 1960s when the baby boomers came of age, there seems to be a greater incidence of crime throughout the nation. A second cause for this rise and fall of crime rates appears to be economic. Rising crime rates seem to follow falling economies. A third reason cited as a reason that crime rates seem cyclical is the ebb and flow of public policy decisions. These decisions sometimes protect personal freedoms at the expense of government control but at other times seem to swing in the opposite direction. A youthful, economically disadvantaged population that is not secured by social controls of family or community or by government authority is likely to correlate with an upswing in reported crime.

  1. Crime statistics seem to rise when populations are
    1. younger.
    2. older.
    3. immigrants.
    4. veterans.
  2. The main idea of the passage is that
    1. times of prosperity show lower levels of reported crime.
    2. when the economy slows, crime rates rise.
    3. the incidence of reported crime is related to several social and economic variables.
    4. secure families are less likely to be involved in crime.
  3. The passage describes police as
    1. having no role in crime prevention.
    2. having no influence on crime statistics.
    3. influencing crime statistics by the number of police they arrest.
    4. none of the above
  4. The best title for this passage would be
    1. Wars and Crime Statistics.
    2. Why Crime Rates Rise and Fall.
    3. Youth and Crime Rates.
    4. Poverty and Crime Statistics.
  5. Crime statistics can be used to argue that crime is
    1. random.
    2. cyclical.
    3. demographic.
    4. social.


  1. a. The word young appears in relation to the baby boomers; the other choices present descriptions that do not appear in the passage.
  2. c. Choice c is the only one that summarizes what the entire passage is about; the other choices pull small details from the passage but do not provide an overview.
  3. d. The passage does not mention police at all; while you might infer from this that choices a and b are correct, the question asks you what the passage describes.
  4. b. It is the only one that expresses the sum of the details that each of the other answers give a small piece of.
  5. b. The passage mentions the cyclical nature of crime statistics.

Practice Passage 3

In recent years, issues of public and personal safety have become a major concern to many Americas. Violent incidents in fast food restaurants, libraries, hospitals, schools and colleges, offices, and shopping malls have led many to seek greater security inside their homes and in many public buildings and areas. Sales of burglar alarms, motion detectors, and closed circuit television systems (CCTV) have skyrocketed since the 1990s. Convenience stores, gas stations, jewelry stores, and even the United States Postal Service have barricaded their staffs behind safety glass enclosures and focus cameras on many work stations that involve handling money. Communities employ private security forces and encourage homeowners to install alarm systems and other security devices. While some people sympathize with the reasons behind these efforts, others have voiced concern that these measures, are helping to create a siege mentality. There is fear that such a mentality will lead to a general distrust of others among people that could foster a dangerous isolationism within neighborhoods and among neighbors.

  1. The passage suggests which of the following about community security?
    1. Communities are more dangerous today than they were before the 1990s.
    2. Too much concern for security could destroy trust among neighbors.
    3. Poor security has led to an increase in public violence.
    4. Isolated neighborhoods are unsafe neighborhoods.
  2. The word foster in the last sentence most nearly means
    1. adopt.
    2. encourage.
    3. prevent.
    4. secure.
  3. The author believes that
    1. more security is needed to make neighborhoods safer.
    2. people should spend more on home security.
    3. people such not ignore the problems created by excessive safety concerns.
    4. security devices are the best protection against violent crime.
  4. The violent incidents described in the passage include
    1. school shootings.
    2. parking lot crime.
    3. employees shooting their co-workers.
    4. none of the above.
  5. In the last sentence, the phrase siege mentality means
    1. hostility.
    2. defensiveness.
    3. fear.
    4. corruption.


  1. b. The key word is distrust, which implies that neighbors will become suspicious of one another if they are worried about safety.
  2. b. Foster means nurture or help to grow. Even if you are unfamiliar with this word, the phrases general distrust and dangerous isolationism should indicate to you that the two are interconnected in the way that foster tells you.
  3. c. The phrase dangerous isolationism should convey the author's disapproval of the move toward more reliance on security devices. The other choices imply approval of the trend.
  4. d. Although the passage mentions locations where each of the types of crimes listed in the other choices might occur, the passage never mentions any actual crimes; it speaks only of public concerns over personal safety.
  5. b. A siege mentality is felt by those who believe they are under attack; such people want to defend themselves, the root of the word defensive.

Practice Passage 4

At 2:20 A. M., while on regular patrol in their marked police car, Police Officers Turner and Thompson were told by their dispatcher to respond to a call from Tom's All Night Wash and Dry at 69 Coleville Street. They arrived at 2:30 A. M. and found two paramedics trying to revive 70-year-old Jonathan Jones, who was semiconscious on the tiled floor. The manager of the Wash and Dry, Tim Thomas (a brother of the owner, Tom) and a patron, Joe Murphy, told the officers that two young men they had never seen before rushed into the laundry, grabbed a few items from one of the dryers, and on their way out brushed by Mr. Jones, who fell and hit his head. Another patron, Suzanne Solaro, disagreed that the young men were not regular patrons of the laundry. She said she regularly did her wash after midnight and saw them often; she volunteered to the officers that the young men's names were Manny and Jack. While the patrons were speaking with the officers, Mr. Jones seemed to regain more of his senses and resisted the par amedics' attempts to place him on a stretcher and take him to Victory Hospital. The officers convinced Mr. Jones that he should go to the hospital; the ambulance left Tom's Wash and Dry at 2:54 A. M. Although Ms. Solaro provided the officers with descriptions of Manny and Jack, no arrests were made. An investigation is pending.

  1. Which of the following persons most likely called police to Tom's Wash and Dry?
    1. Tim Thomas
    2. Joe Murphy
    3. Suzanne Solaro
    4. Tom Thomas
  2. The main reason Manny and Jack were said to have entered the laundry was
    1. to commit a robbery.
    2. to pick up their laundry.
    3. to attack Jonathan Jones.
    4. none of the above
  3. What was the main reason Manny and Jack were removed from the laundry?
    1. They were arrested for assault.
    2. They were injured when they slipped on the tile floor.
    3. They were identified by the offices as wanted for questioning in a past crime.
    4. none of the above
  4. According to the passage, which of the following statements is accurate?
    1. Tim's All Night Wash and Dry is located at 69 Coleville Street.
    2. Police Officers Turner and Thompson were dispatched to a call at the laundry.
    3. Jonathan Jones died at the scene.
    4. Manny and Jack are regular patrons at the laundry.
  5. It would be correct to infer that
    1. Manny and Jack know Jonathan Jones from the laundry.
    2. Joe Murphy and Suzanne Solaro are dating.
    3. there were no other patrons in the laundry.
    4. none of the above
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