The Annual Police Department Performance Audit Study as an Approach in
A significant part of Police department’s every day operation is the communication plan. As an operative document, it puts in a frame media, involving external and internal communications, elucidates the priorities of the organization, the audiences that are targeted, the assignments of the personnel and the resources that are needed to reach the goals that are grounded in the plan.
In a research, completed in 2008, the authors concluded that “enterprises [often] fail at execution because they go straight to structural reorganizations and neglect the most powerful drivers of effectiveness – decision rights and information flow.” (Martin, K., Neilson, G., & Powers, E., 2008, pp. 61-70)
The communication plan declares the goals of the organization that it longs for, and the expected results in a statement along with its beliefs and values.
The Organization that is intended to be discussed is the Police department in Chesapeake, Virginia. In order to make a situational analysis, a very important part of developing a strategic communication plan, it is necessary to examine the annual audit carried out by official auditor, appointed by the City Council.
The Audit, performed in 2014, clearly showed that the department had serious problems with the preservation of evidences, weapons and drugs that were confiscated during crimes. There were no security cameras at the entrances of the three vaults where the evidences were supposed to be kept and many people had free access to them. (Sheller, J., 2014) In his report to the City Council, the auditor underlined that an increase in police-vehicles accidents was noticed in the last year, and that there was no requirement for alcohol or drug test of the police officers that took part in the crashes. Another problem that was involved in the audit was the large number of claims about injuries of police officers that represented twenty seven percent “of the city’s $6.2 million in workers' compensation claims.” The auditor underlined that the claims came from “sprains and strains” injuries that indicated the lack of fitness programs for the officers as well as requirements for their physical form. In the previous audits it was also mentioned the lack or not enough good communication between the Police department and the Court. (Police Department Performance Audit, 2006)
The situational analysis in this case shows that the necessary equipment for preservation of the seized evidence and the organization of the controlled access to them are insufficient. The local legislation about substance abuse has to include the police officers too. There have to be implemented requirements for the physical condition of the police officers and wellness and fitness programs to be provided.
Main Goals and Objectives of the Strategic Communication Plan
The main goals of Chesapeake Strategic Communication Plan at present have to be the improvement of the department’s necessary equipment, to raise the physical condition of the operational personnel along with the improvement of communications with other stakeholders as the local TV, local newspapers, radio stations, exchange of regular bulletins and individual information with the court, outlining mutual measures for dealing the current problems.
As a result of the situational analysis, besides the delivery of the necessary equipment, it is as plainly as anything that the Police department in Chesapeake, Virginia and the City Council of Chesapeake, have to work out a long-term strategic communication plan that will include the due measures, necessary for improving the performance of the police officers. Along with the solvation of the problems, the Strategic communication plan may also include the establishment of public partnerships that will create special training programs that will help the officers after their retirement easy to join the civil life as instructors, specialists in bank and insurance fraud, etc. Therefore the targeted audience will be the officers in the Police department and the companies that can provide the education.
General Communications Strategies
The general communication strategies have to be designed in a way that allows them to reach the targeted audience easily, not to have lecturing or critical tone, but a natural, explaining and appealing effect on the audience they have to reach. The perfect tone is that of an energetic conversation.
The achievements should be mentioned briefly, with emphasis on the partners’ contribution to them. The balance has to be kept and the messages do not need to sound very casual or cooperative. The stakeholders should be chosen very carefully, and the communications have to be conformed to the particular partner.
It is very important to identify the ways the feedback has to come back, since it is the most important goal of the communication process.
First Steps in Developing the Strategic Communication Plan
The mission statement or the rational statement has to express the main goal of the Police department that is the secure, successful and happy everyday life of the community members by fighting the criminals, reducing the substance abuse, ensuring the peace of all citizens. The vision about the future of the Police department’s personnel, as a well-trained, responsible, smart team, that reacts properly in every situation. The Rational statement is used as an introduction to the detailed Strategic communication plan.
Who will be the stakeholders in our strategic communication plan? As Special Agent Hoover underlines that the stakeholders involve anyone that is connected in a certain way with the strategic goal and is interested in the results. (Hoover, C., 2010) The key stakeholders in the strategic communication plan, in our case, will be the Chesapeake’s Police department and the City Council as a legislator and financial provider. The rest of the stakeholders will participate gradually with the establishment of partnerships and starting the variety of programs designed for the implementation of the plan.
The messages have to be conformable with the audience or the target. For the police departments’ employees they must explain how the change will raise the effectiveness of their work and other cultural issues. As for the citizens they have to bring the impression of safer neighborhoods, safer spending their money, etc. To the partner organizations they have to explain how their investments, nevertheless the form they have, will bring the future dividends. It is very important to choose the right media to spread the messages.
The first four steps of a strategic communication plan have to be the building of a clear vision for the future work of the department, to remedy the existing dysfunctions in the organization, to adopt new rules and requirement and establish partnerships for achieving the settled goals. The workout of the right messages and choosing the most effective media to bring them to the audience is a guarantee for the success of the strategic communication plan.
Since the strategic communication plan is a part of the whole strategy of the Police department so it has to be an integral part of it.
Hoover, C., The Strategic Communication Plan, The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 2010 Retrieved from www.leb.fbi.gov/2010/august/the-strategic-communicatio-plan
Martin, K., Neilson, G., & Powers, E., 2008, The Secrets to Successful Strategy Execution, Harvard Business Review, pp. 61 – 70, Retrieved from www. hbr.org/2008/06/the- secrets-to-successful-strategy-execution
Sheler, J., Chesapeake Audit Finds Problems with Police Evidence, 2014, The Virginian – Pilot, Retrieved from www.PilotOnline.com