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Why Police Officers Resign: A Look at the Turnover of Police Officers in Vermont

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1990
A questionnaire survey of police officers who voluntarily resigned from municipal police agencies in Vermont in 1989 formed the basis of an analysis of the reasons for police turnover and its impacts on police agencies.

The analysis showed that the officers who left came disproportionately from the bottom rank of the police. They were often younger and probably had less experience than those who stayed, although they were similar in other personal characteristics. The most important reasons for leaving were career and salary advancement and frustrations with the police department. Smaller departments experienced higher rates of turnover than larger departments, and officers from these departments often reported stress as a reason for leaving. Officers who were happy in law enforcement usually took another law enforcement job. Compensation was the most important factor in happiness, followed by departmental characteristics providing a low-stress, challenging job. Results indicated the need to improve the image of law enforcement, meet the aspirations of police officers, review hiring practices, and consider combining small departments into regional departments. Tables, appended instrument and additional results, and 31 references

Date Published: June 1, 1990