The Noble Cause: An Empirical Assessment

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Literature on police ethics has employed the term "noble cause" to describe a utilitarian orientation toward crime control. No empirical research, however, has systematically investigated the noble cause, a shortcoming addressed in this study. A survey of deputies in a western sheriff's office provided the setting for the current research. Twelve items tapping the noble cause revealed a multidimensional latent structure composed of three factors. Findings did not support the presence of a link between measures of the noble cause and crime. A positive though inconsistent relationship was found between measures of the noble cause and deputies' attitudes toward administrators.