Date of Conferral





Criminal Justice


Michael Klemp-North


Evidence suggests an issue with trooper retention at state law enforcement agencies in the Southeast United States. A current literature gap exists in understanding how personality affects long-term employment at law enforcement agencies in the Southeast United States. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether there are personality traits that influence the retention of a trooper in the Southeast United States for 5 or more years. The personality traits tested were taken from the 16 Personality Factor 6th Edition Security Selection Report and included emotional adjustment, integrity/control, intellectual efficiency, and interpersonal relations. The theoretical basis for this study was Allport's trait theory, which suggests that individuals are shaped by a unique set of personality traits that not only define who they are but also guide their decision-making processes. A nonexperimental survey research design was used in this research with 48 trooper participants. Results indicated that none of the 4 protective service dimensions tested significantly impacted a respondent's decision to remain employed as a trooper at an agency in the Southeast United States. Though the evidence in this investigation fell short of allowing rejection of the null hypothesis, analysis of the link between personality and specific occupations such as law enforcement remains a worthwhile endeavor. If utilized and supported by future researchers, the results of this study have tremendous potential to enhance recruitment and retention of those choosing to enter law enforcement. By employing applicants whose personality traits are consistent with police work, agencies can reduce officer turnover and improve law enforcement coverage leading to positive social change.