Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Jennifer Reeves

Committee Member

Francisca Uvah

Abstract

This applied dissertation was designed to provide law enforcement and corrections administrators with current information about the components of basic training that can affect the retention of newly employed trainees during basic training. Attracting qualified applicants for law-enforcement jobs is a challenging task, and the preemployment screening and hiring processes are very expensive for agencies already plagued with reduced budgets. By the time a trainee actually makes it to basic training, a great deal of time and money has already been invested by the agency, and the trainee becomes an investment. When more than 20% of trainees exit a basic training program before completion, it becomes an operational and financial concern for law-enforcement agencies.

The researcher conducted a process evaluation of a basic training program at a state corrections academy in the southeastern United States in an effort to identify what factors were affecting trainee retention during the critical first couple of months of employment. Using various instruments, the researcher collected data from trainees and academy instructors with emphasis on (a) pretest and posttest trainee perceptions and attitudes of basic training; (b) effectiveness of instructors, curriculum topics, and training methods; and (c) reasons given by trainees for withdrawing from the program prior to completion.

An analysis of the data revealed significant differences in trainee perceptions before and after basic training, as well a relationship between instructor sense of efficacy and instructor delivery of content. A relationship was also observed between instructor delivery of content and trainee academic achievement. Finally, the reasons provided by trainees for departing the program before completion were identified and considered when presenting recommendations to agency administrators for possible program modification.

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