Examining Views of Police Chiefs and College Students Regarding Drug Disqualifiers for the Hiring of Police Officers in Arizona

A. Johannes Bottema, Cody W. Telep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Police applicant disqualification due to prior illegal drug use is a contributing factor to major recruitment and hiring challenges currently facing many American policing agencies. This article explores how chief executives of law enforcement agencies and college students enrolled in criminology courses in Arizona view current statewide police hiring standards related to prior drug use. We use surveys conducted in cooperation with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board to examine respondent opinions regarding the preemployment use of marijuana and illicit use of prescription drugs. Generally, we find significant differences between the chief executive and student views. Students, who represent potential policing applicants, typically are in favor of harsher treatment of prior drug use than chief executives, although students are also more open to forgiving marijuana use under certain circumstances. We discuss the implications of these findings for police hiring and suggest potential areas of policy change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-127
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • college students
  • drug use
  • marijuana
  • police chiefs
  • police hiring
  • police recruitment
  • prescription drugs
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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