Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Melvina Sumter

Committee Member

Elizabeth Monk-Turner

Committee Member

Victoria Time

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 P38 2009


This thesis is an exploratory study which examines the retention of police officers in the Norfolk Police Department. Focus group interviews with nine police officers provided the data for this study. Participants described aspects of their job that they enjoy and aspects of their job that could be improved. Themes identified include working conditions, supervisor relationships, interpersonal relationships, pay, responsibility, achievement and recognition, and appeal of the job.

This research was aimed at revealing what officers like and dislike about their job in order to reduce voluntary turnover and increase retention.

The findings from this study indicate that job satisfaction is very important in influencing retention among officers. Adequate working conditions, relationships in the workforce, and pay are all factors that can lead to dissatisfaction in the workforce. This dissatisfaction can then lead to turnover. The findings also reveal the need for more motivating factors such as responsibility, achievement, and recognition on the job. These factors can improve job satisfaction, thus increasing retention. The last theme revealed, appeal of the job, is exclusive to police work, provides insight into what attracts officers to police work, and reveals the factors that keep them satisfied with the job.


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