CHIEF CONCERNS: IDENTIFYING THE PERSONAL AND WORK-RELATED FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH JOB SATISFACTION, BURNOUT, AND TURNOVER INTENTIONS AMONG POLICE CHIEFS
Brady, Patrick Quinn
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The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing has identified officer safety and wellness as a key pillar to improving police practices. Yet in order to improve the health and wellness of officers, the issue needs to be relevant to key decision-makers: police chiefs. Existing literature on stress and policing, however, has focused primarily on frontline officers and midlevel managers. As a result, less is known about the factors shaping the well-being of police chiefs. This is problematic considering the demanding duties and responsibilities of police chiefs. Additionally, the wellbeing of police chiefs can have a substantial influence over the attitudes and behaviors of their subordinates. The purpose of this study was two-fold. The first goal was to establish baseline estimates of job satisfaction, burnout, and turnover intention among police chiefs. The second goal of the study was to identify and isolate the key personal, operational, and organizational characteristics associated with job satisfaction, burnout – both exhaustion and disengagement, and turnover intentions to explore the personal, operational, and organizational characteristics associated with job satisfaction, burnout, and turnover intentions among police chiefs. Data were collected from 315 Texas police chiefs from varying types and sizes of police departments. Findings indicated that chiefs were, on average, relatively satisfied with their jobs and reported low to moderate levels of exhaustion, disengagement, and intentions to leave their department. Additionally, operational and organizational factors, such as work-family conflict and organizational commitment, accounted for more of the variance in job satisfaction, burnout, and turnover than personal characteristics of police chiefs. Findings, policy implications, and avenues of future research are discussed.