The service that police agencies towards a community cannot be belittled. However, the effectiveness of an agency while dealing with various responsibilities from the management to operational level depends on various aspects. The operations command of a police department is usually perceived, rightly so, as the most important. However, it is important to note from the outset that most operational work is usually performed without the watchful eyes of the administrators. As such, effective work depends on the motivational levels and professionalism of the officers.
- How the history of the agency has contributed most of the issues that have currently arisen
The history of the agency is that it was founded by few police officers whose profession was farming. This means that the founding of the agency was basically done by people who had no expertise to enable them carry out the duties of the police in an effective manner. This aspect shows that from the onset, the agency was established on a weak platform. It is this very aspect that has created a ripple effect to date considering that as a police department, the survivors and those who inherit the responsibilities in the agency seek to maintain the policies of the founding members of the agency despite the fact that the society has become more dynamic and the fact that the crime rate has risen due to the increase in the populace within the jurisdiction of the agency. So far as the tactics and policies employed by the police department are just but a reflection of the policies that were utilized at the inception of the agency, regardless of the fact that the agency has employed more staff and more police officers the tactics may not be effective in a contemporary society. Consequently, the transition between the veteran police officers and new recruits into the command and supervisory positions
Consequently, the fact that the founding personnel at the agency and who were farmers by trade used to recruit their farmer friends as constables means that the society was closely knit, a fact that cannot be said of the contemporary society. The fact that the community was closely knit ensured that the agency whose personnel were also drawn from the community ensured that the community was fully involved in the establishment of policies and the enforcement of those policies but this aspect has been eroded gradually over the years as the community became more cosmopolitan.
Further, the fact that formal education was not encouraged for police officers and commanders has certainly led to lowly educated officers and commanders and even though education for the officers was embraced in the 1990s, it seems that the officers did not take education seriously since there was no requirement for an officer or commander to be educated. As such, the officers cannot be up to the task in dealing with modern crimes such as cyber-crimes since they would have difficulties even understanding such a crime. This has further been compounded by the fact that the agency has not been hiring officers from outside the community thus ensuring that the same uneducated officers rise through the ranks to become commanders and chiefs.
The fact that most of the personnel at the agency are white and male sand not as diverse as the community it is supposed to protect also creates certain challenges key among them being that other races feel marginalized. Most races which feel marginalization usually feel demotivated to the extent that they do not participate in any decision making processes and certainly do not take part in the enforcement processes. Lack of inclusivity only creates disconnect between the formation and enforcement of policies. As such, the level of cooperation between the personnel at the agency and the other members of the community dwindle.
The hiring and replacement of many officers within a short period of time destabilizes the affected departments and slows down the workings of various departments as new recruits take time to accustom themself with the procedures of the agency. As such, the number of crimes solved decrease as is the case with the department having hired over 60 percent of the current staff within the past five years.
- How the department is organized and managed, and what changes could be made to improve
The agency is systematized in two broad commands, operations and administration. The two commands are each headed by a deputy chief. The operations command has a very broad mandate which make the distribution of its numerous everyday tasks uneven. However, taking into consideration that the tasks involved in the operations command are operational in nature, the same cannot be shared out with the administrative command. It seems that although the whole organizational structure is ineffective, the operations command is the most affected as it is overburdened with responsibilities. Generally, the tasks of the police are diverse and require a high level of discipline, coordination, as well as the ability to demonstrate leadership, to take command, and to be self-directed (Beck 1999).
Taking into consideration the fact that the agency has had budgetary challenges, some responsibilities to be transferred to other departments and the agency should also consider crystalizing some responsibilities to few sections in order to save funds. The funds that are saved should then be channeled towards the most important tasks such as training and educating the community regarding the importance of participation and cooperating with the police department in order to rid the community of crimes.
- Demographic differences in the agency and the department, and the strategies that could be implemented to make the agency more reflective of the community
A close look at the demographics at the agency, there is much domination by the Caucasians and less representation of the other races which also make up the community which is supposed to be served by the VIRTUAL Police Department. In order to ensure that the agency is more reflective of the community, the personnel in charge of recruitment must ensure that the agency reflects the face of the community that it serves. This should be achieved by ensuring that the agency recruits officers and other personnel from all races and ensure that no single race or gender is over represented at the agency. Including all the races from the community ensures inclusivity of all races and genders in the policymaking processes as well as in the implementation of the policies.
Already the personnel in the police department is dominated by the men of white races. As such the agency should formulate an affirmative action in favor of the races that are not represented and those that have minimal representation at the agency. An affirmative action would then ensure that the recruitment of personnel is skewed towards the less represented gender and races. Inclusivity and making the agency ethnically diverse is the only way that the agency will be able to realize an agency that is reflective of the society. It is important for the management to first understand the importance of diversity in order to appreciate and fashion a strategic policy towards its development.
In many ways, the aspect the explanations of a metropolis may seem foreign with regard to the VIRTUAL Police Department. This is considering the fact that the department has for a long time been dominated by the Caucasians. For the agency to be able to work effectively, this trend must be halted. This is because having a dominant race heading such an important institution may trigger perceptions of bias and prejudice form other races from the decision-making processes to the implementation of the same. it may prove a big challenge to realize a police department that is a metropolis so to speak but efforts must be taken to increase diversity. Any step towards realizing diversity will surely influence future decisions with regard to the recruitment and retention processes. Every leader who is working in a law enforcement agency should bear in mind the aspect of diversity if they are to make any progress towards serving any contemporary community. Certainly, it is time for the agency to intervene towards creation of a more diverse police department as its future success depends on inclusivity.
- How the agency culture has contributed most of the current issues and how to create change in this area
Although the organizational culture of the agency has successfully ensured that the personnel uphold integrity, it also leaves a lot to be desired especially in the retirement and recruitment policies. The retirements that occur around the same time and subsequent mass recruitments aimed at filling the vacancy positions is the great undoing of the agency. This is primarily because mass retirements affect coordination between various departments within the agency. The most affected is the operations command which is required to carry out the most day to day responsibilities that directly affects the community.
As regards the foregoing, it is extremely important that the human resource department formulates clear guidelines sand which will be free from manipulation. When the guidelines are clear, fair, and objective the same would not have much effect on the operations departments. As such the agency will remain effective and efficient. Some of the factors that must be considered before retiring key personnel should be timing and consultations across all departments that would be affected early. Early consultations ensure that an agreement is reached over how the matter should be handled in order to achieve continuity in the affected departments.
The agency has a culture of promoting officers to the ranks of commander. Promotion is a motivational aspect but without proper qualification a person may not be in a position to handle responsibilities competently. Instead of just promoting officers without clear rules and regulations, a strategy must be instituted in order to ensure that only the highly qualified are promoted to such very important positions. Where no officer is qualified to be promoted to the positions of command, then the agency should consider hiring from outside the VIRTUAL police department.
With regard to the case where the officers abide by what is regarded as the “code of silence” by refusing to report officers who engage in what one may consider to be negligible offences, the problem may escalate. When minor offences by officers are ignored, officers may take the advantage to commit more offences. When officers engage in criminal offences, they have no moral authority to accuse an ordinary citizen of the same offences.
- Analysis of the crime statistics and strategies/tactics to reduce crime and/or increase closure
The Uniform Reporting Program (UCR) shows that Part I offences which include homicide, theft, robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft have largely remained constant with robbery, and aggravated assault recording slight increases while burglary and theft offences have increased significantly. Consequently the motor vehicle theft and homicide cases have slightly reduced. However, the overall crime rates with regard to part I crimes has increased gradually over the past years. Accordingly, Part II offences which include vandalism, prostitution, disorderly conduct, and drug violations have increased significantly over the past years.
Although the crime rates are significantly higher every year, the statistics show that the number of offenders being arrested for both the Part I and Part II crimes has declined considerably. On the other hand, the number of complaints against the VIRTUAL County Police personnel has gradually increased over the years. This shows that the police department has gradually become more ineffective either as a result of the incompetence of the personnel or failure of the set policies.
In order to address the foregoing problems effectively, it is important to look at the police department wholesomely. The agency should first seek to identify the factors that influence the motivation of its personnel and other possible challenges that the department encounters or is likely to encounter. Here, every employee of in the agency should give their opinions. The challenges may encompass lack of proper training to poor apparatus for handling various crimes.
At the initial stage, the agency should also consider equipping the community with knowledge regarding crimes, various ways to deal with them and the importance of cooperating with the agency personnel. On the other hand, the officers and all the personnel should be taught how to relate with the community. A proper training of the personnel should involve instilling skills that enable the officers and every member at the agency to freely interact with the members of the community regardless of their race, religious, and political persuasions. This is because the agency does not exist in isolation but is supposed to protect the community within which the agency is situated as a whole. As such, the agency should consider organizing social functions which enable its personnel and the community to interact freely. In addition, there should be mechanisms for supervision the police personnel in order to reduce the complaints from the members of the community (Whisenand, 1998).
Motivating the personnel is a very important aspect. Proper remuneration is only one of many motivating factors. The agency seems to use promotion and proper remuneration as the only motivating factors. However, good remuneration and promotion is not enough to motivate the personnel especially with regard to the operational side of command if they are to achieve the objectives of the agency. Other strategies that the agency should consider in order to provide motivation to the personnel include performance recognition schemes, offering academic and professional studies. Motivated employees usually remain with an agency for a long period of time and through the reduction of personnel attrition the agency can then concentrate its resources towards achieving the objectives of the agency for the betterment of the community (Bessell, 2002).
- Possible solutions to the issues presented in the case study
As an initial step, the agency should formulate a diversity strategic plan that would ultimately act as a guide towards the desired goals. Such a plan is important as it would create a self-fulfilling insight through a future objective. In other words, a diversity strategic plan would as a matter of fact generate a future through a number of steps that would be outlined in the process.
In view of the demographic projections for the community that the agency serves vis-à-vis the representation of the races in the agency there is a clear cause of concern for anyone wishing to see proper representation of the local community in their local VIRTUAL County police force. In order to appropriately address the challenges that the agency faces, the management should make certain modifications to the prevailing strategies. As such, the agency must endeavor to realize a new paradigm that centers upon diversity as the ultimate consequence notwithstanding the procedure involved. The agency should set minimum qualification requirements for the people interested in the positions of officer or commander. Consequently, any recruitment based on affirmative action should certainly ensure that the people that are recruited on the basis of their race and ethnicity meet the set minimum requirements. Such strategy would ensure an ethnically and gender balanced police department that is reflective of the community it attends hence advancement opportunities would also be unhindered by such aspects as race, origin, and gender.
Emphasis on Training and Professionalism
More emphases should also be on the training with regard to new recruits as well as in-service training (Newton, 2006). In order to review strategies and adopt more effective strategies and which are able to deal effectively with the contemporary crime trends. Such training should also incorporate the use of modern technologies of crime prevention and control.
The fact that the police department is able to compensate the personnel highly means that the agency is able to attract even the highly qualified personnel. The agency should take the advantage to recruit the highly qualified officers and commanders as this would ensure that those who are highly qualified introduce their professionalism in the agency. Such strategy would also ensure that the existing personnel learn from the experts thus making the department from the officer level to the commanders competitive and more efficient in terms of service delivery.
The fact that the training of the personnel is negatively affected considering that the budget for the purposes of training has been reduced as the agency seeks to afford better remuneration is unfortunate. However, it is better to have a small number of personnel that is highly effective that to have more personnel who are largely ineffective. The department must therefore consider retaining a small number of personnel that is better remunerated and the funds saved up after cutting the wage bill should be rechanneled towards better training of the personnel to make it more effective in order to handle any matters arising from within its jurisdiction with a higher level of competence and effectiveness.
Preparation for Intended Changes
Rather than hurried transitions from the existing policies and massive retrenchment and recruitments, the agency should also endeavor to plan well in advance for any intended changes. This should be done through deliberation processes that aim to assess the existing policies and circumstances and the projected future. To begin with, the agency should carry out a study of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the community and the agency regarding aspects that are capable of affecting a strategic plan before consideration is done on particular courses of action. Once the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are identified, the management can then use various approaches such as brainstorming and outlining a reaction plan.
Beck, K. (1999). Optimizing the Organizational Commitment of Police Officers: Background
and Summary of the Research and Guidelines for Management. Report Series No. 122.4. Australian Center of Police Research.
Bessell, I., Dicks, B., Wysocki, A., and Kepner, K. (2002). Understanding Motivation: An
Effective Tool for Managers. University of Florida. Institute of Agricultural Sciences.
Newton, B. (2006). Training an Age-diverse Workforce. International and Commercial
Training. 38 (2), 93-97.
Whisenand, P. and Rush G. (1998). Supervising Police Personnel: The Fifteen Responsibilities
(3rd ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.