Personnel selection and performance profile of airport police officers



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Purpose: It was the intention of this thesis to validate the central theme of this study and present empirically-designed evidence supporting the fact that the selection of police officers in airports serving certified-air-carriers can be scientific in its orientation thereby greatly reducing interviewer subjectivity, curtailing nepotism and projecting increased longevity while simultaneously delineating duties. Methods: To accomplish the purpose of this study three research questions were formulated and subsequently validated utilizing recognized statistical methods of measurement. The instruments employed for the acquisition of data varied. The first included a survey of the nation’s forty leading airports taken in an attempt to determine any existing pertinent affiliations. This served a wo-fold function: (1) It was utilized to determine th4e importance assigned to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) by the individual airport operators. (2) It was used to ascertain the possibility of developing a standard, incorporating similar desirable characteristics, capable of being utilized on a national scale. The second instrument included a survey of enplaning passengers, conducted at both Houston airports by The Engineers of the Southwest. Findings derived from this survey were applied to this thesis in anticipation of discovering common characteristics of persons using airports. An additional analysis included the comparison of crime-related statistics gathered from existing records of the Houston Municipal Police and the Houston Airport Police which were to be translated into personality characteristics and ultimately integrated into the predictive airport police profile. The information gained from validating these research inquiries was then to be interspersed with factors discovered as a consequence of a retrospective examination of personnel records of the Houston Airport Police. Findings: It was concluded that FAR Part 121.538 and Part 107 were instrumental in aligning the duties and symbiotically coordinating equipment and training pertinent to assigned regulatory functions. As the analysis progressed, additional statistical correlations compounded the fact that persons using an airport have basic needs. This study defined the travelling public as a relatively homogenous group and regardless of the geographical location of the passenger residence or airport facility, the needs of those persons using an airport were analogous. As this study progressed it was determined that the peace-keeping function is most prevalent at airports and must be considered of primary importance. This is not to imply an attitude of under-enforcement but one which does not require the use of arrest powers extensively. The available evidence supporting this research inquiry clearly indicated that citizen contact with the airport police is essentially non-negative in context. One aspect of this study which failed t6o materialize was the attempt to define and develop criteria to increase the productivity of airport police officers. Each pre-selected index had to be rejected because of insufficient validity. Consequently, after an exhaustive attempt to relate the indices to the situation being experienced in Houston it was found that productivity was directly proportional to and commensurate with the amount and degree of highly subjective autocratic supervision. By integrating the information empirically determined by the precise correlation of responses to questionnaires and recorded demographic factors, it was possible to delineate and classify the specific variables considered most important in predicting the longevity and over-all success of sworn airport police personnel. The precise correlation of available facts indicated that specific demographic characteristics appears among the various classifications utilized to explicate the disposition of those persons hired for this position. The resultant a posteriori percentages culminated in the recommendation of specific variables being adopted for the assessment and selection of airport police officers.



Airport police, selection of police officers, curtailing nepotism, increased longevity