What Should We Expect From Our Police Leaders?

Unknown-4The qualities we expect our police officers to hold and practice should also pertain to those whose job is to lead them. [See the previous post, “What We Should Expect From Our Police Officers.”]


But with those who stand to be leaders, more is expected:

Passionate. Leaders must be passionate about that which they profess and be committed to what they are trying to accomplish. Their passion should come from their vision of a fair and effective police in American society and the role of police in making America work for everyone.

Leader. A leader’s style of leading others must be committed to the growth and development of those whom they lead. Therefore, the style and manner of their leadership is critical. To permit a leader to use coercive practices and instill an atmosphere of fear among those whom they lead is unacceptable. Such negative behaviors shut down the open and collaborative relationships that are necessary for an organization seeking continuous improvement of its operations and practices.

Trainer. Even if leaders are committed to an open, participative leadership style, they must also be committed to facilitating and providing high-quality training for their officers and employees through their careers. Effective training is what develops and maintains the skills and personal control expected of professional police officers.

Experimenter. Police leaders in a democratic society must be willing to experiment with new ideas and concepts. They must develop an organizational culture that encourages innovative thinking and challenges current practices. Those who serve as leaders of police must be aware of international social and cultural trends and understand and support the diverse thinking, respect, and tolerance for others that holds together a free society. In today’s world, any organization which chooses to remain in place soon falls behind.

Evaluator. Police leaders must be willing to periodically engage in self- evaluation and open themselves to feedback from employees, community members, and especially those who use police services – their “customers.” Leaders must be able to fairly analyze the results of outside evaluation and be open to new ideas and practices that honest feedback and evaluation suggest.

Persistent. Police leaders must persist in their efforts to improve our nation’s police. Community members whose police department is in need of improvement must be assured that leaders will press on. In order to transform a police department, a leader must be willing to commit to seven to ten years of continuous effort. Anything less is a foolhardy expectation.

For more see, How to Rate Your Local Police.

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