Chief Mike Masterson, Boise, Idaho
Chief Mike Masterson, Boise, Idaho


PART 9 of 10

 For many of us, 25 years is a long time. But when it comes to basic values and practices that have stood the test of time, time does not matter. Michael Masterson, currently chief of the Boise, Ida. police department and a former captain in Madison, had a unique perspective of that time and the present.

In the new workbook, he provides an important update comparing the values of Quality Leadership with the current system of Leadership in Police Organizations being promoted by the IACP.

An Update: 25 Years Later

“Chief David Couper, my former chief and mentor, and his wife, then-Sergeant Sabine Lobitz of the Wisconsin State Capitol Police, wrote a PERF discussion paper twenty years ago titled Quality Policing: the Madison Experience. The paper is a synopsis of how the Madison Police Department changed from a traditional, top down management style to a new paradigm of empowered and dispersed leadership. At the center of that transformation were twelve principles called Quality Leadership. Their premise was that empowering officers to be community-oriented was inconsistent with law enforcement’s paramilitary model which was focused heavily on accountability, top down decision-making and the dependence on formal authority and positional influence…

“Couper and Lobitz argued a need to change the inside of our organizations, first and foremost, prior to implementing outside strategies of policing. The underlying rational here was that if leaders didn’t listen to employees for suggestions on how to improve workplace problems, how could officers be expected to listen to citizens when trying to solve community problems? The twelve principles in Quality Leadership were timely and conducive to not only meeting the community’s changing needs, but also to the changing needs of our employees. They were among the first to recognize that leaders were not limited to those formally promoted, but existed at every level of the organization. Arguably, they were visionaries long before the profession recognized the need. In retrospect, what they were proposing was the proper strategy in transitioning to a community oriented policing agency. Almost a quarter of a century later, Chief Mary Ann Viverette, past president of International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) validated that change process and the need for police chiefs to plan for the future:

‘Unfortunately, in our desire to address the immediate needs of our agencies and communities, we sometimes fail to plan for the future leadership needs of our departments and our noble profession. This is a critical oversight, because we must realize that our success as police chiefs will be judged not only by what we accomplish today but also by how we prepare our agencies to confront the challenges of the future. It is vital that we, as law enforcement executives, take an active role in ensuring that our organizations have programs in place that systematically develop leaders so our organizations have leadership in depth and are continuously preparing leaders for the future.’”[ii]

                     The message is that it is never too late in our careers to improve – to define and develop a leadership style that can ultimately prepare you and your organization for the future as well as improve its operations right now.

The next blog will be: “Police Transformation: Get Your Copy of the Workbook.”


The New Quality Leadership Workbook will be available June 2, 2014 at the eBook store.

On June 2, there will be a 30% discount available for “early birds.” When you click on “eBook store,” use this code: B28BHNR4 for your discount.

[ii] Mary Ann Viverette.“Prepare Tomorrow’s Leaders”, President’s Message. The Police Chief magazine,November, 2005.


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