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Personality Types For Policing?

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  • Personality Types For Policing?

    I am a INFJ and was reading up on personality traits and careers. Can introverts or INFJ succeed in policing? My end goal isn’t to be patrol my entire career because I know I’m better suited in a more analytical/investigative position and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity in the distant future (detective,etc).

  • #2
    You need to enter the job with the reality that you may do 30 years in Patrol.
    Now go home and get your shine box!

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not 100% sold on the whole Myers-Briggs personality profiles, but an INFJ would seem to be pretty opposite of the personality necessary for LE.
      • I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: INFJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
      LE have to be able to perform in a extroverted manner. Our jobs are to involve ourselves in situations that most people consider "private" and would prefer that an outsider not know about. We also have to be assertive.
      • N – Intuition preferred to sensing: INFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
      If you want to be a detective, then it's vital that you be detail-oriented. The same applies to any aspect of LE...just talking to people on the street and determining who is telling the truth requires you to focus on the details of their behavior.
      • F – Feeling preferred to thinking: INFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.
      LEO's don't really care about the social implications of what we do. We apply the law, hopefully as logically and impartially as we can.
      • J – Judgment preferred to perception: INFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability.
      There's no predictability in LE. Even a "routine" call can go south in the most spectacular ways. We train and have policies to try to cover the general possibilities of what we do on the street, but successful LEO's must be excellent in on-the-fly adaptation...no policy or training will reflect 100% what is going to happen when you;re dealing with the most unpredictable animal in the planet (human beings).

      Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
      You need to enter the job with the reality that you may do 30 years in Patrol.
      Truer words have not been spoken. If you're not prepared to be out shagging calls and rolling around with domestics the day before you retire, don't consider this job. Nothing is guaranteed, especially not special duty assignments and promotions.
      "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
      -Friedrich Nietzsche

      Comment


      • UcWilson17
        UcWilson17 commented
        Editing a comment
        I appreciate the response and taking the time to answer my question! Stay safe.

    • #4
      I'm an introvert and I'm doing just fine. Different people bring different qualities to the field.

      Comment


      • UcWilson17
        UcWilson17 commented
        Editing a comment
        This is what I was looking for. What challenges do you face day to day as an introvert in policing? I’m very chameleon like where I adapt to situations. (I’m an Investigator/agent) and have no problem getting along with everyone and anyone new I encounter I do great with.

      • NW121
        NW121 commented
        Editing a comment
        It's hard to say; I like community policing and doing things in the town to keep the public perception of our department largely positive. I can go hands on when needed but prefer to talk people down than get into a fight. This can put me at odds with some of my partners who are of the more aggressive bent. I do a lot of stops but don't write a lot of tickets; I don't enjoy griefing people just to grief them. If someone truly deserves a ticket then I'll write it but I'd rather dig for warrants, drugs, etc. than kill a forest's worth of trees for fines. In general I don't feel like I have a lot of day to day struggles. I'm pretty go with the flow.

      • Bing_Oh
        Bing_Oh commented
        Editing a comment
        I have a naturally introverted personality and, quite frankly, it caused me no end of problems early in my career. Introverts don't naturally engage people and tend to be much less assertive, both of which are required traits in LE. It took me quite some time (and nearly ended my career before it started) before I realized that I had to have a "game face" when I came to work. Now, while I'm still a naturally introverted person, I have adapted to be able to talk to pretty much anybody about anything and can be just as assertive and dominant as any given situation demands.

    • #5
      A few things to consider: First, what Bing_Oh and CCCSD said: You may never earn the title of "detective" in your career. The vast majority of police departments in the U.S. are 100 officers or less...usually WAY less. At those departments, there's often less than 10 detectives. At a lot of departments, there's only 1 or 2. And at a lot of very small departments, there are no detectives at all. It's patrol only, and investigation of major crimes is often turned over to county or state agencies. Needless to say, those positions are very, very hard to get. You might have better odds in a large, urban department where turnover and transfers are much higher. But even then, you have to prove yourself a good patrol officer before you'll even stand a chance of being interviewed for detective.

      Second, if you become a police officer, do it because you want to be a police officer, not just a detective. Nobody wants to work with the guy who is already planning his next move before he even starts day one. If you're going to be a cop, you have to want to be a patrol officer. You have to want to know your jurisdiction inside and out. You have to know the job inside and out. You won't be a good detective until you are a good patrol officer.

      Third, I think you don't seem to know exactly what patrol officers do. It seems like you probably think they do nothing but hand out tickets, direct traffic, settle neighbor disputes, and stand outside crime scenes while the detectives go in and do the cool stuff. Wrong. As a patrol officer, you ARE an investigator! Every day on patrol, you're investigating what's going on just driving around. When you take calls or go to the scene of a crime, you're going to be taking pictures, collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses and victims, getting together lists of suspects, etc. If you like doing drug or vice work, you can do that as a patrol officer. You can do buy busts, plainclothes work occasionally, stings, turn people into confidential informants, get search warrants and kick down doors. In fact, if you end up with a small police department, a rural sheriff's office, or a state police agency, you're going to be a detective and will be doing full investigations: Everything from the initial call all the way up to making the arrest. The only crimes the guys with the title of "detective" will handle are the most major ones, and even then, you'll likely be taking a major role in the investigation.

      But if the issue is that you think you'd be a good investigator but not a good patrolman, I'd say forget police work. Go to college, get a degree in forensic accounting, get some kind of non-LE investigative experience (like with some financial or insurance company), then apply to a federal agency where you can start as an investigator right out of the gate. Bear in mind, those are the hardest jobs in LE to get though.

      Hope this helps.
      "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
      -Chris Rock

      Comment


      • UcWilson17
        UcWilson17 commented
        Editing a comment
        I appreciate you taking the time for the response!

    • #6
      Sticky. Spot on.
      Now go home and get your shine box!

      Comment


      • #7
        I wouldn't say that someone with those personality traits cannot succeed in policing, but it would definitely pose additional challenges in an already challenging profession. That said, the much bigger issue is that you don't seem to have any interest at all in patrol or community policing. Someone who is serious about wanting to be a street cop might be able to adapt...but someone who is neither suited for nor interested in the job is going to be miserable and will likely fail.

        I strongly urge you to do some research into other career options. Have you considered a position as an intelligence analyst? That might be a better fit for you.



        Comment


        • UcWilson17
          UcWilson17 commented
          Editing a comment
          I’m actually an intelligence Analyst currently for the DOD. Unfortunately, Crossing into the LE Intelligence I’m still not qualified because of state requirements. Something I’m trying to figure out currently.

      • #8
        Originally posted by not.in.MY.town View Post
        I wouldn't say that someone with those personality traits cannot succeed in policing, but it would definitely pose additional challenges in an already challenging profession. That said, the much bigger issue is that you don't seem to have any interest at all in patrol or community policing. Someone who is serious about wanting to be a street cop might be able to adapt...but someone who is neither suited for nor interested in the job is going to be miserable and will likely fail.

        I strongly urge you to do some research into other career options. Have you considered a position as an intelligence analyst? That might be a better fit for you.


        Bingo. I was that personality type and there were calls where that personality helped ie sexual assaults and calls where it didn’t help ie irate dominant people. Instead of struggling with an improper fit, I resigned and went the intelligence route. I recommend you try your hand and look into the following: Army CID where you are a federal agent for the Army, Army CI where you are a counterintelligence special agent or HUMINT interrogations. Those positions are more extrovert centered though; and of course you can do great investigative work as a IA. That’s more analytical research, however you need to communicate that information in briefings.

        Also take the time and ask yourself why you want to be a dic. It’s a lot more methodical and less dramatic than what’s on television.

        Comment


        • #9
          Remember a few things, OP, about that test: First, it goes without saying that it's not an exact science. Take it with a grain of salt. Second, regardless of how you take the results of the test, remember that it's usually graded on percentages. You might, for example, come out as an introvert, but only 51%. That is, you'd prefer hanging out with a small group of close friends, you don't like loud, boisterous parties or huge crowds, but you're not shy, unfriendly, socially anxious, a loner, or even quiet. It doesn't even mean you can't That type of personality is not, really in any way, unsuited for law enforcement. Maybe it's not a good fit for urban policing, but for suburbs and small towns, it's a perfect fit.

          Third, know that your personality will likely change on the job. You'll find yourself learning skills that will make you more perceptive, you'll become more reactive, and you'll get better in your communication and command presence as your confidence increases. Jobs like this will change you, sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse.
          "If the police have to come get you, they're bringing an @$$ kicking with them!"
          -Chris Rock

          Comment


          • UcWilson17
            UcWilson17 commented
            Editing a comment
            I appreciate this. I actually brief and talk for large audiences and can hangout with large groups just fine. I just like the small groups. My past was vague and I painted a bad picture. I love what police do and I want to help my community first hand. I have found myself in combat just fine and people are amazing everyone is different and police are the ones who people look to in the darkest of times and that is so motivating for myself. My wanting to be a detective is just what I would like to do. I realize it could or could not happen but, why not have aspirations for more? My father did it and It just motivates me. I love your post and thank you.

          • GangGreen712
            GangGreen712 commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah, nothing wrong with that. It's a good idea to have an idea which direction you want to take your career if the opportunities present themselves. You may or may not get exactly where you want to go in your career. If you don't, it may also be no fault of your own. I guess the thing you have to tell yourself is this: You have something you want to do in your career, but if you don't exactly what you want, you can still retire happy with what you did do.

          • UcWilson17
            UcWilson17 commented
            Editing a comment
            Agreed! That’s exactly how I see it.

        • #10
          I am very introverted, and I did just fine!
          Former Police Officer (Injured LOD)
          USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
          "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
          Emergency Services Dispatcher, APG MD

          Comment


          • UcWilson17
            UcWilson17 commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank You! I appreciate this!

        • #11
          I just watched a show that pretty convincingly argued that Myers-Briggs is bunk.

          Comment


          • #12
            Originally posted by UcWilson17 View Post
            I am a INFJ and was reading up on personality traits and careers. Can introverts or INFJ succeed in policing? My end goal isn’t to be patrol my entire career because I know I’m better suited in a more analytical/investigative position and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity in the distant future (detective,etc).
            Many police believe they know what they will be good at, and either don't enjoy the work despite having a talent for it, are not actually good at it or they find something else they fall in love with.

            When I became a police officer I also knew that I would be suited to larger investigations and am just past halfway to a detective appointment. I do not regret what I am doing and the training I receive is very good, but I also miss being in uniform and would happily go back at some stage.

            Remember law enforcement has many different opportunities and it is highly likely that while progressing to what you think you want to do you will actually find something better and more interesting.


            Comment


            • UcWilson17
              UcWilson17 commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you so much!

          • #13
            Originally posted by UcWilson17 View Post
            I am a INFJ and was reading up on personality traits and careers. Can introverts or INFJ succeed in policing? My end goal isn’t to be patrol my entire career because I know I’m better suited in a more analytical/investigative position and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity in the distant future (detective,etc).
            My knowledge of US policing is largely restricted to TJ Hooker but assuming it is anything like my two decades being in LE ...

            To begin, I think the Myers-Briggs questionnaire is ... questionable. It does not however seem to be a stretch to say that individuals can be comfortably divided into introverts and extroverts. It isn't quite as clear as a distinction as people who like to have sex wearing furry animal costumes and those who don't, but it's good enough. Personally, I'm a introvert and probably rather towards the shut-in end. If I never spoke to anyone other than my wife and daughters, I can't say I would be remotely bothered. That said, I moved from patrol to plain clothes units after about three years and have been a detective the majority of the remainder. Part of policing is about adopting a mask. At work, I'm Mr Outgoing, cheeky banter, pressing the flesh etc. At home, not so much. You can work in intelligence and not be outgoing. You can't be a Detective. I won't say 99% of the job is about communication (it's probably more around the low 30's, the rest being paperwork). But you can get into character when you go to work.
            I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

            Comment


            • #14
              Forget personality testing, as Agencies will do that, and if you pass, get in, like the work, and go until pension, great, but do YOU think that YOU can handle WHATEVER duties you will be assigned, IF you get hired on by an Agency?
              Have a plan, work with others, remember that your feces DO emit an odour, and you should be fine.
              #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
              Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
              RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
              Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
              "Smile" - no!

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              • #15
                You can take that test once a year for 5 years and get 5 different results.

                Comment

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