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The Culture Mentality

May 7, 2009

This is something you likely already know about just by knowing what the police culture is like. You may have friends that are officers or you may be dating an officer, so you will see first-hand the kind of fraternity bonds that exist amongst them. This is something you need to remember, as you become a police officer – the police culture mentality that comes with it.

The police culture mentality is inevitably one of “us against them”, not because the police officers want it to be that way, but because the nature of the job and the people they deal with daily creates such a division. It’s fairly hard to conceive of the drug dealer you just arrested for selling smack to grade schoolers as being a nice person you would want to spend time with. Or trying to warm up to an older man who has been jailed for trafficking in child porn.

Situations like this tend to create a hierarchy of good versus bad just by the nature of the crime, and thus you have a police culture that tends to stick together because no one else could ever possibly understand the kinds of things you see on a daily basis. By job definition, the police are there to protect (the innocent) and serve the community by keeping people like the drug dealers and porn dogs off the streets. It’s not hard to understand why the police would view themselves as the “good” versus the “bad or evil.”

The police culture mentality isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may have ramifications for your relationships with non-police individuals, and thus, this is something you need to be aware of. This is one of the reasons why there is a high incidence of divorce amongst police officers, as spouses do not always “get” the reasons or the necessity behind the police culture mentality.

Just being aware of it and tempering your behaviour with non-police individuals will go a long way towards bridging the gap between what is typically viewed as the traditional cop-like behaviour and the newer way of thinking – that the police officer is a valued member of the community and a friend.

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