A Summary of Skolnick's 'Working Personality' Essay examples

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A Summary of Skolnick’s “Working Personality”


In “A Sketch of the Policeman’s Working Personality,” Jerome Skolnick discusses and analyzes how a police officer’s personal outlook is affected by his or her involvement in police work, creating an “us versus them” mind-set, as well as the frequent inability to “turn off” the police mentality outside of a work environment. While he states that a person’s work has an impact on his or her outlook of the world according to a recurring theme in the sociology of occupations, police work has a particularly strong impact on those cognitive lenses (Skolnick, 1966, p. 2). Because of the nature of their job, police have a tendency to look at the world in a way that makes it
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This identification can come through the use of certain gestures, language, and even a type of clothing that police have come to associate with particular crimes or violence. Even if the a person has no history of violence or no criminal record, that is overlooked when an officer feels even a vague sense of danger (Skolnick, p. 5). Because of this constant threat of potential danger, police officers may even create certain emotional boundaries which help them continue to function successfully on assignment. Half of the officers in the Westville police department that Skolnick surveyed indicated that they would prefer an assignment of police detective, which involves direct danger. It is believed that while officers may be fearful of the dangers of their jobs, they may also find it exciting, finding enjoyment in potential danger (Skolnick, p. 6). Officers are, of course, trained to be suspicious. Skolnick mentioned a statement from a patrolman that pointed out that “the most important thing for the officer to do is notice the normal.” By this statement, the officer meant that in order to notice what could be deemed as suspicious, an officer must recognize what is considered normal for a particular area. Notably, whether or not an officer has personally experienced a hazardous situation doesn’t determine his level of suspiciousness. Police officers identify with their comrades who have endured hazardous situations such as