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View Full Version : Personality traits to be an LEO

01-04-03, 03:56 PM
Got a question. What type of a personality does a person need to be a LEO? The reason I ask this is, basically, self doubt on my part. I'm very interested in changing careers and getting into LE but I'm curious about if my personality will"allow" me to. I'm a very easy going person, quiet, I guess you could call me shy. I hate getting up in front of people, I hate being the center of attention. If there's a crowd of people, I kinda just blend in, I don't do anything to make myself obvious, and I'm not very confontational. I know that a LEO probably doesn't need to be like that. Maybe the "easy going" part of me would be a fit. I really don't get excited over things, and I could see where that would help me, but the "center of attention" thing and standing up to somebody, I'm not sure about. I feel that a career in LE would really help me in these areas, but I'm not sure. What do you guys think? Anybody else been in the same boat as me? Any LEO's got the same kind of personality and if so, how did/do you overcome it? Or am I exactly what a LEO needs to be, easy going and non-confrontational?

01-04-03, 04:11 PM
I know exactly how you feel. I feel like I am in the same boat. In one of my classes at school we talked about this, and the similar personality traits found in most police officers. (Not to generalize, but it was just a study based on statistics, of the personality groups that enter LE and their personallity traits) I worry sometimes about it, because I guess, I am kinda hard on myself if I fail at something, and I am afraid that if I don't have the same personallity traits that I may let my fellow officer or department down someday, as I am pretty shy myself. But I just wanted to share that, I am interested to hear what some of the officers hear have to reply. Maybe we are worried for nothing? Ya know. Maybe they have felt the same way before, and we will learn that once we get into the field and get our bearings we can become more comfortable. Just my thoughts. Hope they made sense.

01-04-03, 04:31 PM
you both have some great qualities that are needed in law enforcement. dont let your fear of your self perceived short-comings give you self-doubt. there are very differnt types of people in the world, and it takes very differnt types of people to handle them. you will as time goes by develop your own "style" of attitude. everyones is differnt. thats what makes law enforcement so interesting, two different officers may handle the exact same call two differnt ways but have the same end result. as long as you have self-confidence in yourself and in the knowledge that you know your job well, thats all that is needed.

ps, the ability to get a little upset and kick some butt every now and then doesent hurt either!! lol

01-04-03, 04:33 PM
There are particular personality traits police departments look for in a recruit.

The MMPI is designed to identify those traits. People who do not make it thru the MMPI sometimes think there is something wrong with them. Thst is not necesserily true.

Traffic Goddess
01-04-03, 04:54 PM
Police work, IMHO, requires all sorts of different personality types, just like any cross-section of society. You need to have the leaders and the followers, the agressive and the passive, etc.

01-04-03, 05:41 PM
Originally posted by txinvestigator1
There are particular personality traits police departments look for in a recruit.

Can you list those traits or a link to a website where they're listed? I'm interested in the average personality of LEO's. One thing I notice about almost every police officer I've came into contact with is that they are funny and outgoing.


01-04-03, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by txinvestigator1
People who do not make it thru the MMPI sometimes think there is something wrong with them.
I agree, if you don't make it past the personality part of the testing, it just means that according to them, you may not be the right personality to be LE.
I see a LOT of type "A" personalities on the force. There are some ppl that are very easygoing, but have excellent command presence when needed. All of the cops I know are very outgoing, but you have to be in order to talk to strangers (or the frequent flyers!).

Nichole, the biggest trait needed to avoid burn-out is a sense of humor. A lot of times cops will make jokes about things that non-LE people think are insensitive. That is the way you get past the bad stuff you see or hear about.

01-04-03, 06:37 PM
Originally posted by marinevet
What type of a personality does a person need to be a LEO? The reason I ask this is, basically, self doubt on my part...I'm a very easy going person, quiet, I guess you could call me shy... Anybody else been in the same boat as me?

When I started in Law Enforcement your description could be describing me. I was very shy and could not speak in front of people. I hated school due to this fear. I learned as I developed the skills and knowledge required to be a good officer I lost that fear due to the self-confidence I was gaining. I am a strong believer in knowing as much of the statutes and court decisions as humanly possible. I gained confidence in my decisions because of this knowledge and now train/teach and actually love giving public presentations and classes.

The KEY personality trait is to maintain relative calm in tense and/or dangerous situations. That can't be taught, in my opinion but is a basic trait.

One thing I tell anyone who considers a career in law enforcement - if you find that it is NOT a good fit for you - get out, there is no shame in not being able to adjust to the rigors and demands of the job.

Traffic Goddess
01-05-03, 12:32 AM
BTW-I HATED that stupid MMPI test....:cool:

01-05-03, 04:48 AM
Marinevet, are you a Marine Corps veteran? Or are you a marine animal veterinarian? Or does your name mean something else?

You CAN be mellow (most of the time), but there are times when you're going to have to put on your "Devil Dog hat" and take care of business.

It is normal to be uncomfortable "up on stage" or "in the spotlight". In LE, however, you WILL be the center of attention wherever you go (on duty/in uniform). You WILL need to order people around. You WILL need to "step up" and take charge (even of your co-workers). You WILL need to take it to another level when normal conversation or reasoning isn't working. You CAN'T blend into the background or avoid confrontations (of course there are exceptions).

Command Presence comes easy to some people. For others, it takes a bit of work. It will naturally come with knowledge and experience. Sometimes you have to fake it and make people think you know exactly what you are doing.

Don't enter LE just because you think it will help you change your personality or improve your character traits. There are books, videos, and classes that can do that. Enter LE because you believe in something and then take all opportunities to improve yourself as you grow. If you can, work on conquering your natural shyness and improve your public speaking skills before you get hired as an LEO.

01-05-03, 11:46 AM
Thanks for all the input guys. Samuel, I am a Marine Corps veteran. I was a Corporal, but for only 9 months before I got out so I really never reached the leadership potential that I would have if I had stayed in or been a Cpl. longer. Although, I did get some leadership training and experience. I don't believe that I would have a problem, sometimes the occasion occurs where I have to step up and I do, I just don't go out looking for the opportunity to stick out, you know what I mean? When I was a Marine, just wearing the uniform, even cammies, would invoke an air of confidence. It was almost like I was a different person when someone could tell that I was a Marine. Does it affect a Police Officer the same way? I would think it would. So, I think one reason that I have these self doubt issues is because I've not had that in so long. Since I got out, I've just had ordinary jobs, I'm a truck driver now and frankly I'm bored with it. I'm just an ordinary guy with an ordinary job and I've come to the point where I want to do something to make a difference. Something that will make me proud of myself. As a Marine, I had that. Now, I'm married with 2 small daughters and drugs are becoming very bad in my area and my 18 yr. old brother is already caught up in some of it. So, I want to be able to hopefully make a difference. There have been several times over the years where I thought "Boy, I wish I was a cop!" when something was going on across the road or some other similar situation. So, I'm not wanting to enter the LEO field to change my personality, I want to enter it to make something out of myself again, to make a difference in my community so that my daughters can have a safe place to grow up in like I did. I want to have a positive affect on someone whom I've never met yet. I want to help that stranded motorist, unlock that car that the keys are inside of it. Put the s***bag in jail that busted his wife's nose, etc. And I think that I would enjoy it when someone says "What kind of work do you do?" and I answer "I'm a Police Officer." instead of "I'm a truck driver.":D

01-05-03, 11:50 AM
I didn't know that you couldn't say s.c.u.m.bag on here! What's this world coming to? :rolleyes:

01-05-03, 08:02 PM
MV, as you know, not all leaders are supervisors/managers and not all supervisors/managers are leaders. You can be a leader or demonstrate leadership with just about anything you do. With 9 months in the Corps, you have learned more and experienced more about structure, beauracracy, leadership, teamwork, responsibility, discipline, heart, etc. than most other people have in their whole lives.

For me, confidence doesn't come with just wearing my uniform. Whether I'm wearing a uniform or not, my confidence will come from matching up my knowledge and abilities with what is required to handle a particular situation. There are plenty of times when I'm glad that my partners are there to help me out. But yeah, there are those guys (usually newer graduates) who start feeling as though they've got that red and yellow "S" on their chests just because they're sworn.

Sounds like you've got good incentive to work LE. I am a little cautious about telling people (mainly strangers) what I do. If someone asks, normally I'll tell them I just work for the county. If they press, I may tell them the sanitation department... :)

01-05-03, 08:22 PM
I was in the Corps for 4 yrs., but I was a Cpl. for only 9 months. :D I know, bummer. Anyway, I see what you're saying about confidence. It does take more than the uniform, but what I was saying is that wearing the uniform gives you a sense of confidence and that you can build on that. Maybe I'm wrong? You were right though about the leaders/supervisors! Ain't that the truth! :rolleyes:

01-05-03, 09:25 PM
DOH! 4 yrs... duhhhhh lol

01-05-03, 09:49 PM
I won't tell anyone if you won't! :D