The Police Officer Tacit Knowledge Inventory (POTKI): Towards Determining Underlying Structure and Applicability as a Recruit Screening Tool

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The purpose of this research was to examine the potential application of the police officer tacit knowledge inventory (POTKI) as a police recruit screening tool. The POTKI is a situational judgment test and consists of knowledge gained on the job by experienced officers that is thought to be important for problem-solving. In the present study, four police agencies from a western US state administered the POTKI along with other screening measures to police applicants. Performance of the novice recruits was subsequently rated by their supervisors using the measure of professional expertise (MOE). Principal component analysis, multiple regression analysis, and multivariate analysis of variance were conducted on the POTKI response options. POTKI response options were found to be predictive of supervisor MOE ratings. Principal component analysis results identified intrapersonal tacit knowledge components that predicted MOE metacognitive, skill, and social recognition supervisor ratings and distinguished novice from expert police officers.