Scinec – College Essay
Supervision— The Management Task Key Terms affective skills conceptual skills conflict resolution dynamic organization Hu-TACK human skills integrity knowledge-based skills loyalty management expectations of the supervisor officer behavior participation peer expectations of the supervisor performance positive attitude responding to management self-appraisal subordinate expectations supervisory skill areas tactical skills transition 1 Case Study Sergeant Douglas Harper Department Douglas Harper has been with the Graceville Police Department for nine years.
The department has added a number of new officers as the city limits expanded because of annexation. The department has 168 sworn officers and 51 full- and part-time civilians. There are three major units in the department: uniform division, investigations, and support services. Sergeant Harper works as a shift supervisor in the uniform division and he is assigned to the swing shift that works a 4/10 plan. In this division, corporals serve as assistant shift supervisors. In addition, the division has 89 police officers and six community service officers.
There are also three school resource officers assigned to the local schools. The division is headed by a captain, and three lieutenants serve as watch commanders. This division accounts for the preponderance of the department’s 1 © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 2 Effective Police Supervision measurable workload in terms of calls for service. Sergeant Harper’s watch commander very seldom left the station and allowed shift supervisors a free rein in conducting operations. Crime There were approximately 87,344 requests for police services during the previous year, which was a decrease of two percent.
The reduction is in part due to implementation of a secondary telephone system as a means of reducing 911 telephone calls and providing citizens with another means of reporting their concerns other than actual emergencies. Requests for service included prowler calls, abandoned cars, lost children, public intoxication, road hazards, speeding vehicles, traffic accidents, graffiti, and malicious mischief, as well as violent and property crimes. In the latest year for which statistics were available, violent crimes totaled 690, which was a reduction of 4. 01 percent. Violent crimes had dropped steadily over the past decade.
The crime rate is going up but statistics are not available because the city is installing a new computer system. Property crimes showed an increase of 232 cases and all of these were larcenies/thefts. There were 16 homicides, 54 forcible rapes, 253 robberies, and 336 aggravated assaults. Additionally, there were 1779 burglaries and 938 vehicle thefts. An analysis of robberies reflected the fact that 23. 9 percent occurred on streets/alleys and 22. 7 percent in commercial buildings. Sixty-nine percent of the robberies involved the use of handguns, knives, fists, or baseball bats as the weapons of choice.
Community The population of the city is approximately 94,000 and it is growing at a rate of two percent a year because many individuals have chosen it as a retirement area. Many of the retirees, over the last seven years, are former public safety officers who have long desired to live in a more rural area and get away from the traffic generated by big-city life. An additional asset is the fact that the cost of living is less and housing is below comparable housing in large urban cities. There are just under 40,000 housing units in the town, and available transportation includes a city bus system, rail, and an interstate bus line.
An airport 28 miles to the south allows easy access to other regions. A major interstate highway is on the north side of the town. The service area of the community has a constituency with 79 percent Caucasians, 12. 5 percent Hispanic, and 3. 8 percent black; the remainder are 1. 9 percent Asians and 2. 8 percent Native-American. A two-year college in the community serves as a source for educating and training residents. Located in the northern part of the state, the city serves as the business hub for agriculture and ranching in the surrounding area. The county has a civilian labor force of 85,000, and the unemployment rate is 6. percent. Services employ 30 percent of the workforce, retail trade 26 percent, and government 19 percent. Supervision—The Management Task 3 Officer Harper is 28 years old and he entered the department after completing two years of college with an emphasis on liberal arts. He has continued to take two classes a semester at a local private university, on a part-time basis, and anticipates graduating with a degree in business administration in four more years. He is an excellent student and has a grade point average of 3. 5. Harper is married and has two children. He resides in the north side of the city in a newly developing area.
He is a Catholic and very active in a local church and attends services regularly. Harper is best described as somewhat who never rushes into things and considers all contingencies carefully when confronted with a new problem. He approaches every assignment with enthusiasm and is achievement oriented. He is looked upon as a real achiever and perceives himself on the fast track to higher managerial positions. He finds police work to be a calling and conducts himself with absolute integrity. He firmly believes that police work is fast becoming a profession and is proud to be an officer in his hometown.
Before being promoted he was on an interagency task force (four departments and the sheriff’s office) for three years that was organized to deal with robberies and commercial burglaries. After this assignment he served as an instructor in the regional police academy. In all of his assignments, he has gotten along with all of the other officers and has been accepted readily as a competent officer by everyone he has worked with, including supervisors. He is a policeman through and through. Problem After serving on the task force he took the promotional exam for sergeant and was number two on the list.
Upon being promoted, he remained in field operations as a shift supervisor. His initial assignment was to the swing shift where he replaced a retiring sergeant who was known to be a less-than-competent supervisor. When Harper interviewed the officers under his supervision, it was readily apparent that the lack of supervision placed them in potential danger especially when responding to robberies or other conflict situations. Of the officers supervised, Harper found that even though all of them had more than a year’s field experience, they lacked in actually applying the concepts they had been taught.
Consequently, Harper found that he had to spend an excessive amount of time coaching officers about the reality of field work and dealing with a wide variety of problems ranging from burglary to robbery. He had the assistant shift supervisor respond to violent crimes as backup and Harper performed this duty and made it a point to respond to a call for service and backup every officer at least once a night. In all most every instance this led to an abbreviated training session. He thought that the officers were lacking in the capacity to apply the knowledge they had obtained in the academy to situations that occurred on the street.
This was especially true when officers responded to violent crimes and placed themselves in danger by their actions or inactions. It was apparent to him that newer 4 Effective Police Supervision officers needed street time and close supervision to learn the skills of survival. Training and responding as backup consumed so much of his time that he was unable to develop the shift into a team and attain assigned objectives. Just responding to calls for service and ensuring that the initial response was handled with dispatch, safety, and professionalism proved to be demanding.
There did not seem to be enough time on a shift to perform other managerial expectations. What Would You Do? If you were Sergeant Harper, what would you do to solve the problem beyond what is described? Would you deal strictly with knowledge skills to the detriment of human skills? What part do conceptual skills have to do with the problem? Justify your position. Do affective skills have anything to do with this problem? Would you seek help from your immediate supervisor? Why/why not? If you request help what would you specifically ask for? Why? Would you ask to have more seasoned officers assigned to your shift?
Explain. How would you justify your request? What precisely would you do to ensure that you accomplish managerial expectations? Explain. The changeable nature of our police agencies demands a viable and doable response to the dynamism of public and managerial transformation. In a law enforcement organization, the first-line supervisor is the crucial managerial point where policy is transmitted into action. All levels of police administration from the top down must acknowledge the challenge of making the first-line supervisory position a key managerial part of the agency.
Crime, disorder, and the desire of members of the community to reside in neighborhoods that truly represent the best aspects of our democratic society call for an enduring mandate to serve the public and enhance the quality of life. This requires accepting the dynamics of continuing and constant change and developing an organizational capability to take action that fulfills the mandate of every professional law enforcement agency. The position of a first-line supervisor must evolve into a position where decisions are made in the best interests of the organization and community members through the attainment of goals and objectives.
Supervisors must be given the training and skills needed to create a working milieu that energizes each member and that allows for a multiskilled response. A common denominator present in police departments that do extremely well, throughout our nation, is the creation of a work environment that fosters the development of good supervisors. In exemplary agencies, the first-line supervisor is not apart from, but a viable component of, management and is directly responsible for augmenting the positive attributes of working life.
Human resources are at a premium in every part of a police organization, and the task of a supervisor is to assist employees to become productive members of the organization. It is a truism Supervision—The Management Task 5 that an effectively performing supervisor makes things happen through the efforts of those supervised. Moreover, departmental and personal goals become achievable through interaction between an emphatic supervisor and subordinates. As a result, the community is better served and officers find themselves working in a viable organization that emphasizes the enhancement of the working quality of life.
An agency committed to excellence is one that challenges each member of the organization to grow daily and contribute to the realization of departmental objectives/goals. Police work is without question an intricate undertaking. Current demands and the consequences of responding to them in new and innovative ways intensify the critical role played by the police in American society. It involves the use of an enormous amount of discretion and the use of criminal and civil law and the needs of citizens to sort out a myriad of problems.
Today’s police supervisor deals with problems and challenges totally unheard of several years ago, and it is anticipated that the complexity of enforcement will occur at a rapid pace. External forces have a strong influence on every aspect of a contemporary police agency. The rapid proliferation of computer systems, telecommunications networks, and other related technologies presents concomitant widespread vulnerabilities compelling law enforcement to respond with highly trained and qualified officers (Stambaugh et al. , 2000).
The new millennium requires police personnel to be better prepared than ever before. Line officers and first-line supervisors of the future must be primed to confront and deal with a variety of diverse issues. For example, officers are increasingly expressing a desire to become more involved in the decision-making process and the creation of operational procedures. At the same time, some recruits into the police service have a lesser degree of commitment and set goals for themselves that, in some instances, transcend their commitment to the organization, but with appropriate supervision this can be changed.
Additionally, police departments have become increasingly urban and more reflective of the ethnic composition of the community. Diversity is apparent when one realizes that three states and the nation’s capital have seen nonwhites gain majority status. This is illustrated by the state of California where white non-Hispanics make up 43 percent of the population (Bureau of the Census, 2007). Demography has become increasingly significant as new minorities alter almost every aspect of our life, ranging from geographical regions to exurbs (Frey, 2008). This diversity plays an ncreasingly important part not only in enforcement activities but also in the internal aspects of a department in terms of recruitment, selection, and operational implementation. It also involves the need for supervisors to respond to officers who retain vestiges of another culture with differing values and norms as they become members of the department. There are also intensifying demands for police services, along with the public’s dissatisfaction with police service, especially with the use of deadly force, and, more recently, the police use of racial profiling.
Race and policing 6 Effective Police Supervision continue to be a lightning rod, and bias-free policing is a goal toward which everyone is striving. Currently, officers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or sexual orientation (Jerome, 2006). Racial profiling has become the object of increasing concern, and civil rights activists have urged the collection of data on subjects stopped for traffic infractions.
Almost every state has taken some steps to address the problem of racial profiling and it has become a political issue with extensive legislation introduced in the halls of Congress. In the past, a large number of local law enforcement agencies did not have a written policy regarding the progressive use of force, but this has changed dramatically as the police have responded to public and political pressure. Today, nearly all larger law enforcement agencies have a written policy pertaining to the use of deadly force (Reaves and Hickman, 2004).
It is anticipated that these policies will become more conditional over the years and the search will go on to find less than lethal alternatives. The selection base for potential law enforcement officers has narrowed as more and more individuals have experimented with or in the past were part of the drug culture. Screening of applicants for past and current drug use has become the norm. This includes a consideration of such things as the time that has elapsed since drug use and the exact nature of the involvement.
Assuming a candidate has been hired, a police supervisor must respond to the use of drugs by officers after they are on the job. In one department, approximately one-fourth of all suspensions and dismissals of police officers were for drug use. Consequently, a supervisor must be alert to signs of drug use on the part of police personnel and under no circumstances should it be tolerated. Many police tasks must be performed in a very violent environment where increasing numbers of officers have been injured on the job.
Hostages are being taken more frequently, altering the way officers respond to this type of conflict. Barricaded suspects are becoming increasingly common, and many departments utilize SWAT teams to make arrests and serve search warrants. Gangs have become a major problem in many cities and are starting to emerge in rural communities. Overall, violent crimes are too prevalent throughout the nation. This is especially true for child and spouse abuse and it remains a perennial law enforcement problem in many communities.
Even though the homicide rate has declined over the last three decades, it has risen in the last reported statistical year. For years, violent crime has represented an intolerable level in terms of the loss of human lives and injuries committed during a criminal offense. Whether we like it not, in our civilized society, in the eyes of some life has become cheap. One cannot ignore the fact that violence is a fundamental component of our culture, but an alert supervisor should work diligently at ensuring that it does not dominate an officer’s perspective.
Cynicism can be a by-product of enforcement activities and is something that should be anticipated and not allowed to spread like a virus (Henchey, 2005). Supervision—The Management Task 7 A first-line manager must communicate constantly with each officer supervised by allaying rumors, interpreting policy, coaching, mentoring, or utilizing persuasion when the situation dictates. A viable supervisor must work closely with each officer to ensure that they are aware of departmental policy involving personal conduct and ensuring their adherence to that policy.
Ethical behavior must be the standard that governs every public contact. All employees must know what is expected of them, and they must be held accountable for their actions (Martin and Matthews, 2000). Continuing contact with people who have criminal inclinations makes it essential that each supervisor cultivate a working environment that acknowledges and reinforces the fact that the vast majority of the members of our society are law-abiding— not “gutter punks” or “scumbags. ” In other instances, the failure to train officers can lead to civil liability.
Like it or not, a first-line supervisor is a trainer, a mentor, a guide, and the one in the best position to identify individual weaknesses and needs. Supervisors should be ever watchful and strive to identify areas of weakness where training can be improved and where closer control is essential. It is a never-ending process and calls for initiative, imagination, and resourcefulness. In most instances, first-line supervisors are the initial ones to observe training inadequacies and top management should recognize them as a vital resource.
Our culture presents new challenges to the first-line supervisor, and it seems reasonable to assume that problems will not only increase in number, but that they will become more diverse. This means, then, that the supervisor must respond to these critical issues as they arise and address them with a great deal of imaginativeness and innovation, as well as anticipating problems. The supervisor is at the organizational focal point between officers and other managerial levels, and supervisory duties must be performed with absolute confidence and situational adaptation.
If the police organization is to become more effective, the first-line supervisor must play a major role in responding to change that affects the organization. Isolation must be rejected and organizational rigidity must be refuted. Supervisors are the most transparent personnel in the organization and have greater contact with the public than any other police managerial position. If supervisors are successful in the performance of their duties, it follows that the organization will become more effective and the potential for attaining goals will be enhanced. Good supervision does not just happen: it has to be cultivated.
Until recently, newly appointed supervisors were left to fend for themselves, but supervisory training courses are becoming more prevalent and an essential component of career development. In some states, improved performance has resulted because each newly appointed supervisor must complete a training program within a specified period after being promoted. Supervisory performance can be improved by establishing a mentoring relationship with others in the organization, conducting online research on leadership skills and other related topics, reading supervisory 8 Effective Police Supervision eriodicals, taking courses at local colleges, and consulting with other supervisors. This is a long way from the time when newly promoted individuals had to fend for themselves. “Sink or swim” used to be the cliche of the day. In the future, the new supervisor will have to work in a viable and dynamic police organization that is ever changing and constantly creating new demands on everyone in the organization. The new supervisor will have to be more accommodating and open to change. Figure 1. 1 sets forth an array of attributes that describe a viable police organization of the future.
Figure 1. 1 Attributes of a Viable and Dynamic Organization—A Place Where Officers Want to Work 1. Accountability applies to every level of the organization. 2. Acerbity of the police culture is the antithesis of modern law enforcement. 3. A proactive response to police problems is clearly the most acceptable standard operating procedure. 4. Acts of corruption and officer misconduct are rejected. 5. Crime fighting is viewed as only one of several priorities of contemporary law enforcement. 6. Development of guidelines and their evaluation must occur continually. . Discretion is recognized and accepted as an inevitable component of police work. 8. Effective officers will typically make many decisions outside the purview of supervisors. 9. Empowerment is a viable managerial component. 10. Every effort is made to integrate every member into the organization. 11. Improving the quality of the working environment is an organizational mandate. 12. Integrity and ethical conduct must circumscribe officer behavior. 13. Internal cultural conflict is managed. 14. Leaders achieve by utilizing every competency area as needed. 15.
Locus of decision making varies but is concentrated at the lowest level. 16. Moral and constitutional values need to control every aspect of officer comportment. 17. Organizational leaders have positive character and presence. 18. Organizational rigidity impedes change and must be dealt with accordingly. 19. Personnel are expected to internalize knowledge and skill throughout their career. 20. Recruitment and retention practices need to emphasize a search for quality. 21. Supervisors are an integral part of the management team. Supervision—The Management Task 9 Transformation
Conversion from a line position to a first-line supervisor brings numerous rewards, but it also exacts a price. These factors are set forth in Figure 1. 2. However, in addition to an increase in pay, the supervisory position is marked by prestige both within and outside the department, as well as the recognition that one has attained a supervisory rank, a new title, and added responsibilities. Administratively, the supervisor usually heads a given unit or operation, is more involved in the decision-making process, and, at the same time, becomes a part of management.
If there is any issue that causes a new supervisor a great deal of difficulty, it usually is learning how to be an effective disciplinarian, especially when having to discipline a former fellow line officer. Does one maintain social relationships built up over the years or does one discontinue this type of interaction? There is not an easy answer to these dilemmas and each situation must govern the dictated reaction. Further adaptation may be required as the new supervisor finds it necessary to attain objectives through the efforts of subordinates, while being held responsible for their success or failure.
Accountability is fast becoming Figure 1. 2 Transformation from a Line Officer to a First-line Supervisor Advantages: 1. Additional training. 2. Broader perspective of the department’s overall operation. 3. Commitment to success. 4. Develop rapport with peers, managers/subordinates. 5. Different assignments. 6. Feeling of accomplishment. 7. Gained reputation within and outside the department. 8. Greater chance of providing input into the decision-making process. 9. Increase in pay. 10. Interpreter of policy. 11. More control over the type of police service provided to the community. 2. Obligation to be more integrative. 13. Opportunity to be in charge of an operation. 14. Opportunity to influence and develop personnel. 15. Part of management. 16. Prestige of rank. 17. Required to foster innovation. 18. Step up in the organization. 19. Training/mentoring of personnel. 20. Work constructively under stress. 10 Effective Police Supervision Figure 1. 2, Continued Disadvantages: 1. Accountable for work (or lack thereof) performed by subordinates. 2. Acting like a boss rather than a close friend. 3. At the bottom of the seniority level in shift and work assignments. . Difficult or impossible to return to former position if being a supervisor is unwanted. 5. Increasingly vulnerable to criticism. 6. Less freedom of action. 7. Lesser commitment to the police union (in some instances). 8. Must function as a disciplinarian. 9. Must have a greater degree of commitment to management. 10. Must implement policy not personally supported. 11. Must make decisions every day. 12. Must make decisions that can have an adverse impact on subordinates’ careers. 13. No longer just “one of the boys. ” 14. Objectives must be achieved through others. 5. One step removed from line operations. 16. Positioned in the middle, between the line and top management. 17. Risk taking is part of the game. 18. The need to be effective rather than trying to be liked. 19. The need to work through conflict. 20. Work in isolation part of the time. the byword of the day. The transition from being responsible primarily for oneself to slowly becoming a more integral part of administration requires a greater degree of commitment to the managerial process and furthering the success of the organization.
This is an especially difficult transformation, requiring the balancing of goal attainment and the development of personnel. It is normally not acceptable to take the time-honored position that “I would rather do it myself. ” Conversion to the position of first-line supervisor may be fraught with difficulty, depending on the individual, but most agree it presents a challenge and demands the ability to accept and adapt to change. Historically, police executives have taken the position that prospective supervisors would intuitively know how to manage people, but such is usually not the case.
A new supervisor may be placed in a situation that demands an expertise that has not been acquired from experience or training; if either of these conditions has not been fulfilled, the new supervisor becomes a member of the “sink-or-swim” school of management (Frazier and Reintzell, 1997). In some instances, old ways and habits have to be overcome if one is to succeed in a new position. Supervision—The Management Task 11 Traditional coping mechanisms can prove to be ineffective as one begins to work in new territory.
It might be that a feeling of helplessness arises; if that happens, one should seek out counsel from other supervisors, a mentor, or other managers. Above all, a new supervisor should realize that it takes time to learn how to cope with new challenges. A new supervisor should realize the importance of immediately acknowledging the importance of the ecology of the organization and the fact that the department is a dynamic social system. Officers have personal needs and objectives that the supervisor should help fulfill while simultaneously ensuring that they do not conflict with the attainment of organizational objectives.
Interaction with employees is what most first-line supervisors deal with in the workplace. The greater the supervisor’s knowledge in this area, the greater the likelihood that both individual and organizational goals will be attained. Based on their experience of conflict between officers, they will be able to notice such situations faster and intervene sooner. Being aware of the rewards that their former supervisor could have given them will make them more sensitive to officers’ needs for recognition.
However, the transition will prove to be difficult if they do not accept the responsibility of correcting and/or disciplining officers when warranted. A supervisor soon becomes aware of the need to develop a range of skills if officers are to be highly productive and achieve the goals and objectives of the department. Good supervision is the result of the serious application of one’s knowledge about human behavior to the work situation. In fact, the good supervisor develops the ability to obtain results through others. This means that a supervisor must learn to value people as organizational assets.
Supervisory Skills Areas (Hu-TACK) Once an individual assumes the position of supervisor, the role changes to such an extent that there is limited comparison to the tasks performed as a patrol officer. The supervisor is a manager and must perform managerial type activities. Certainly one technique of motivating employees is for a supervisor to show officers how something can be done by actually performing the activity, such as making a number of driving while under the influence arrests, conducting a number of field interviews, or backing up an officer.
While such activity might accomplish an immediate objective, it represents only a small part of the things a supervisor does to be effective. Selection of the best worker for the position of supervisor is a common agency practice that can prove to be disastrous. The temptation to improve one’s salary, to enhance one’s position, and to achieve a rank attained by few is seldom rejected by a highly competent patrol officer. In many instances, 12 Effective Police Supervision however, this practice results in a feeling of having divided loyalties. A supervisor cannot forget that they are a part of management and no longer a line officer.
In some instances, the newly appointed supervisor performs so poorly that it becomes necessary to seek employment elsewhere or be demoted. Some play the supervisory game well enough to get by, but they become marginal supervisors and, in the end, are of limited value to the organization. Some newly appointed supervisors program themselves for failure because they impose rigid, process-oriented rules and regulations rather than striving to achieve results. Additionally, they will usually refuse to admit mistakes, fail to delegate, and manage in an ad hoc manner.
Generally, the inadequate supervisor feels that a laissez-faire managerial style is the “best way to go. ” In addition, feelings of inadequacy foster an approach that emphasizes, “If I leave it alone it will go away,” “Why should I bother,” or “Why not let someone else do it? ” A supervisory position is not for everyone. It is a demanding job and can create a great deal of personal stress. The increase in salary and positional prestige can never compensate for the psychological discord that can occur if one is inadequately prepared, lacking in self-esteem, or just does not have the skills needed to perform effectively.
Supervisors should emphasize development of the skills of their subordinates rather than trying to do everything themselves. Needless to say, the supervisor could probably accomplish the task in half the time in many instances. The timeworn axiom “I would rather do it myself ” must be rejected when one becomes a supervisor. As a means of maximizing effectiveness, a supervisor must work to attain objectives through the efforts of others, preferably by becoming operationally effective in one or more of the following skill areas set forth in Figure 1. 3.
This acronym is known as Hu-TACK. Figure 1. 3 Supervisory Skill Areas (Hu-TACK) Hu ? T A C K HUMAN TACTICAL AFFECTIVE CONCEPTUAL KNOWLEDGE The skill areas are closely interrelated and overlap in their application. Knowledge-based skills are more important at the supervisory level than they would be to the chief of police, whereas human skills are vitally important Supervision—The Management Task 13 at every managerial level. At the same time, managers at all levels must be concerned with applying some degree of conceptual affective and tactical skills.
There is a continuing need for the integration of knowledge, human, and conceptual skills as modified by the emotionally based or affective characteristics that are constantly conditioning the managerial process. Figure 1. 4 lists the supervisory functions. Figure 1. 4 Supervisory Functions by Skill Areas Human Coaching Communicating Counseling Mentoring Delegating Integrating Tactical Capabilities Control Expertise Procedures Task Orientation Techniques Affective Attitudes Empathy Equality Fairness Integrity Interrelations
Conceptual Analysis Assessment Decision Making Identification of Objectives Prioritizing Problems Solving Problems Knowledge Critically Reviews Reports Directing Evaluating Organizing Work Scheduling Training Provides Administrative Credibility Policy Implementation Leading Resolving Conflict Values Loyalty Interpreting Adapted from Robert L. Katz (1974). “Skills of an Effective Administrator. ” Harvard Business Review, September-October: Volume 52, No. 5; Don L. Costley and Ralph Todd (1978). Human Relations in Organizations. St. Paul, MN: West; and Department of the Army (2006).
Army Leadership, Washington, DC: Department of the Army. In some instances, respect is earned by supervisors because of their knowledge skills, which can have nothing to do with one’s actual position or title. If a line officer is more competent and knowledgeable than a supervisor, it can lead to disenchantment and a lessening of organizational support. If an officer always has to turn to someone other than an immediate supervisor for such things as amplification of a technical skill or policy interpretation, the supervisor will be viewed as working beyond his or her capacity.
The same thing can occur if a supervisor does not keep abreast of technological change or state-of-the-art equipment. Additionally, if a situation occurs where a supervisor has to perform line functions in an emergency and the performance is marginal or inadequate, the speed with which this occurrence spreads, via the grapevine, throughout the organization clearly demonstrates the viability of the informal organization. When ambiguity prevails, it can affect operations negatively. 14 Effective Police Supervision Human Skills (Hu) At the core of successful police supervision is a consideration of human skills.
Employees have to be motivated, appraised, and counseled. Standards must be established, tasks analyzed, and expectations communicated. Officers must be trained, developed, and (even though distasteful) occasionally disciplined. All these tasks are an effort to meet organizational objectives (see Figure 1. 5). These activities demand the application of human skills predicated on the absolute belief that employees will work hard and diligently if incentives are such that they become highly motivated. Figure 1. 5 Supervisor’s Human Skills 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Coaches officers.
Counsels employees. Deals with each officer as an individual. Develops a rapport with officers. Gives praise when appropriate. Lets officers know where they stand. Listens and discusses problems with subordinates. Motivates employees. Performs as a professional and sets the standards for employees. Resolves conflict. Tells employees when they have not met performance standards. Works with officers to increase positive attitudes and counsels them in an explicit manner. A first-line supervisor must become personally acquainted with each employee and treat each one as an individual.
Every member of a team should be expected to perform the kind of work that is vital to the success of the organization. It is imperative for work to be accomplished through people; this can only be done when the supervisor is thoroughly acquainted with the capabilities and limitations of each employee. The supervisor should set high standards for those supervised and the standards should be applied to each and every employee. In studying supervisor/subordinate relationships, officers have an entirely different view of how they are treated by supervisors as compared to how supervisors view the needs of subordinates.
Supervisors believe that they clearly understand the problems that subordinates are faced with; however, subordinates think exactly the opposite. This is a gap that has to be addressed. It cannot be ignored. Such a disparity clearly reflects the importance of human skills and the need to understand the dynamics of human relationships if employees are to be integrated into the organization successfully. An emphasis on human skills addresses employee needs, including personal development, self-esteem, proficiency, and independence. Supervision—The Management Task 15 Tactical Skills (T)
Tactics, used by supervisors, come into play when it is necessary to apply leadership that enables one to control a situation and accomplish a mission in a field situation (Figure 1. 6). It is a time when everything is brought into focus by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to an unusual occurrence. Field supervisors need to combine knowledge, human, conceptual, and affective skills when the time comes to apply tactical skills in an operational situation. It is one of the few times that mission accomplishment overrides other factors and becomes an inviolable imperative.
Knowledge skills are used to organize for task accomplishment and conform to departmental operational policy. Human skills come into play in a tactical situation that requires the supervisor to communicate and lead officers. An additional human element is the delegation and assignment of officers in order to enhance goal accomplishment. Supervisors apply their conceptual skills by identifying, assessing, and prioritizing the problem and rendering decisions that lead to problem resolution when tactical skills are executed.
Finally, affective skills interact with other skill areas as the supervisor performs with integrity, a positive attitude, and a pattern of interactive relatedness with officers under his or her supervision. A truly effective supervisor will do everything needed to acquire the knowledge and experience to respond adequately to extraordinary situations and critical incidents. All of the acquired skills in each area come into focus when the supervisor controls a situation in such a manner that the tactical situation, whether it be a lost child, a disturbance, or a hostage situation, is resolved appropriately (Department of the Army, 2006).
Figure 1. 6 Supervisor’s Tactical Skills 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Acquires skills needed to enhance the capability of mission attainment. Applies appropriate techniques tailored to the problem at hand. Develops the technical expertise needed to use appropriate equipment. Establishes a system of control. Establishes operational priorities. Implements procedures in conformance with departmental policy. Ensures that every officer is aware of the task and is oriented to its attainment. Affective Skills (A) One other set of managerial characteristics are emotion based. They interact with and modify all the other characteristics (see Figure 1. ). The supervisor (by actions) modifies the attitudes, emotions, and values of employees. At the same time, the interaction modifies the supervisor’s personal view of the managerial process and his or her own self-concept. 16 Effective Police Supervision Figure 1. 7 Supervisor’s Affective Skills 1. Accepts responsibility. 2. Creates an environment based in a belief in equality and the opportunity for all to succeed. 3. Deals fairly with subordinates. 4. Develops relationships based on equal treatment. 5. Demonstrates loyalty to the organization and subordinates. 6. Demonstrates the quality of integrity. . Integration of organizational and community value systems. 8. Knows personal strengths as well as limitations. 9. Performs as a role model. 10. Values employees and their potential contribution to the organization. Emotion-based skills of the supervisor have to be utilized to the maximum. The first-line supervisor has to accept responsibility for errors and should never allow subordinates to be criticized for a mistake outside their control. It does not take an alert supervisor long to realize that (1) they are not knowledgeable in every area and (2) they have weaknesses as well as strengths.
Weaknesses can be numerous, including a lack of sensitivity, emotional immaturity, a lack of drive, or the clashing of personalities. Effective supervisors apply numerous skills and perform several functions. An important duty is to perform with fairness and equity. If an organizational value based on fairness and equity is to be communicated, it has to be on a continuous basis, demonstrated to each employee by ensuring that everyone is treated as an equal, with absolute fairness. In most situations, subordinates think that supervisors are more concerned with mistakes than anything else.
Subordinates believe that their supervisor seldom responds to what is done correctly because of an excessive emphasis on factors other than evenhandedness and fairness. Obviously, this demonstrates the difference in line officers’ and supervisors’ perception of fair treatment. Further indication of this difference in how the supervisory process is viewed is evident in that the vast majority of supervisors believe that subordinates feel comfortable when they are discussing work situations. Again, exactly the opposite is true. Subordinates, in general, are uncomfortable when dealing with a supervisor.
Thus, there is apparently a barrier possibly precluding the successful communication of organizational values and their integration into the organizational value structure. If employees perceive that managers refuse to acknowledge weaknesses and are always looking for a scapegoat, then the supervisors’ affective skills will be muted and achievement of organizational goals can be jeopardized. One can apply knowledge-based human relations and cognitive skills, but the affective variable serves as a modifier and allows a manager to become aware of personal limitations as well as strengths.
This activity allows the supervisor Supervision—The Management Task 17 to recognize and accept responsibility to make necessary decisions and be able to acknowledge the needs of peers and employees. The supervision of line employees is readily acknowledged as complicated and (in the view of many) demands the selection of supervisory techniques that transcend traditional responses (Woods, 1999). Conceptual Skills (C) Conceptual skills consume the least amount of the first-line supervisor’s time. However, these skills are essential ingredients of the managerial process.
The newly appointed supervisor, whether assigned to patrol or investigations, must integrate his or her individual activities into the total organizational plan so agency goals can be attained. This can be accomplished when the supervisor is thoroughly aware of the department’s mission, vision, and organizational culture. The relationship of patrol to other specialized units (such as support services or investigation) can be tenuous; therefore, it is necessary for the first-line supervisor to be capable of understanding the complexities of the interrelationship of specialized units to the total organization (see Figure 1. ). A supervisor must respond to organizational conflict with seasoned judgment and visionary thinking. Figure 1. 8 Supervisor’s Conceptual Skills Assesses performance. Conceptualizes the technical and human aspects of the work environment. Demonstrates the ability to analyze data. Develops and shares information. Enhances and improves proficiency. Identifies emerging problems and works for their resolution. Identifies objectives. Makes decisions. Utilizes all sources in an effort to deal with the positive interpretation of information. 10. Works to eliminate errors. . 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. To “conceptualize” is to form new ideas or concepts. The first-line supervisor is in the best position to identify and resolve conflict between specialized police units by employing conceptualization techniques and utilizing mediation skills (Umbreit and Coates, 2000). Key ambient factors of conceptualization involve identifying, prioritizing, and solving problems. The supervisor also must develop and execute solutions by evaluating new responsibilities and by reexamining assignments in an effort to achieve definitive managerial goals. 18
Effective Police Supervision Knowledge and human skills will sometimes dominate the day-to-day duties performed by a first-line supervisor. Each of these areas helps to define working relationships within a variety of settings. At times task accomplishment is seen as paramount and informality is encouraged as emphasis is placed on problem solving. The organization and the chain of command are utilized to facilitate communications and direct activities to the task. In this instance, achievement dominates and such things as position, power, rank, and status become subordinate factors.
Sometimes knowledge skills dominate the working environment, whereas in other instances it will be human skills. A healthy relationship between the two is needed and demands a supervisory response that acknowledges the need for the application of both types of skills. At times, it can foster a supervisory approach that is truly participative and the essence of sharing responsibilities. It is the opposite of “we-they” style of supervision that utilizes “top-down” management. In other words, it can be a one-way street. The key for this approach is not only to tell officers what to do but how to do it.
The other side of the coin gives serious consideration to the personal needs of officers. Employees are seen as a viable and vital part of the operational equation. There is a total awareness of the need for “people skills” if things are to be accomplished. When human skills falter, it is readily apparent that supervisors are not utilizing those supervised to accomplish tasks. Supervisors should determine the interrelationship of the technical and human aspects of the work environment and utilize this information to improve their supervisory style.
Conceptually the supervisor can demonstrate the ability to analyze data and share information in order to attain organizational objectives. He or she can work to eliminate errors and utilize every available source in order to deal positively with emerging problems. It then becomes apparent that conceptual application can lead to better decision making and enhanced problem solving. Additionally, a supervisor can assess performance that will result in improved proficiency. Knowledge-Based Skills (K)
At the time of appointment, the supervisor is usually endowed with all kinds of knowledge-based skills because of extended duty as a patrol officer (see Figure 1. 9). In most instances, promotion to the initial managerial level has been predicated on success as a patrol officer or investigator. Unfortunately, the skillful application of operational techniques can seldom ensure successful performance as a first-line supervisor. The skills are different and the situation can become somewhat tenuous if, during the transition period to this newly acquired position, the new sergeant fails to adopt a managerial perspective.
A manager can only succeed if results are obtained through the efforts of others. The supervisor must realize the necessity of training employees because they are an organization’s most valued assets. Supervision—The Management Task 19 Figure 1. 9 Supervisor’s Knowledge-Based Skills 1. Demonstrates a real interest in seeing that officers do a good job and complete their assignments. 2. Implements departmental policies, rules, and regulations fairly. 3. Interprets departmental policy. 4. Is capable of doing all tasks an officer must perform. 5. Knows each officer’s workload. . Organizes work in such a way as to achieve objectives and goals effectively and efficiently. 7. Provides officers with appropriate administrative and technical support. 8. Reviews officers’ reports for accuracy, thoroughness, and quality. 9. Schedules officers according to organizational priorities. 10. Trains and develops officers. Self-Appraisal The initial and highly significant dilemma in becoming a truly competent supervisor is sorting through all the different supervisory techniques to select approaches compatible with one’s own temperament and personality.
It is necessary to ask such questions as “What is an acceptable level of conflict between employees? Can personal needs be made compatible with organizational needs? What managerial style will officers find most acceptable? How does one become an effective disciplinarian? Should one go by the book when enforcing rules and regulations? Can officer discretion be accepted as an integral part of the job? ” Can errors be viewed as a learning process? It is vital, for several reasons, for supervisors to have a clear idea of what they are doing and what is expected of them.
First, it allows them to operate as professionals, above any potential conflict. Second, they are less apt, in hectic day-to-day operations, to delude themselves into believing that there is only one potential solution to every problem and that all officers can be treated the same. Each officer is a distinct human being with varying skills, abilities, and personality and is entitled to be treated as an individual. By accepting everyone as an individual and dealing with them on that basis, supervisors can reduce the potential for making errors and arrive at decisions suitable for both the individual and the organization.
The pivotal factor is to understand the real attitudes toward line officers and their capacity to work. Are they viewed as having the potential to become producers or are they regarded as “drones? ” The real issue, then, becomes crystal clear: the way employees are treated by their supervisor is strongly influenced by the way the supervisor views the officers. Most assuredly, 20 Effective Police Supervision the best supervisors adopt a managerial style acknowledging individual differences and they work diligently to tailor the style to the situation and the individual.
If the supervisor is better at conceptualizing than motivating, it becomes readily apparent that his or her approach to a supervisory problem will be entirely different than when the individual excels at motivating. The two skill areas can be combined by emphasizing conceptual skills, carefully setting forth a plan to resolve a problem, and then utilizing motivational skills to implement the program. For example, a plan can be devised, focusing on improving the working relationship between the line officers and other agencies dealing with the homeless in an effort to improve quality of life.
Working with citizens and business owners, one patrol unit created a program to identify the extent and nature of vandalism, panhandling, loitering, thefts, and general deterioration of property. These problems were tracked and maximum use was made of emergency shelters for homeless people and action plans that included counseling, casework review, housing placement, and job training. Line officers were instrumental in referring the homeless to the comprehensive treatment program (Klein, 2000).
If the supervisor’s anxiety threshold is high, it may be more comfortable to resolve a problem with a knowledge skill base rather than a human skill approach. In other words, one can view an issue as a simple rule or regulation violation or it can be approached as a conflict-resolution problem with a goal of maximizing human relations skills. In application, it can become an integration of the two approaches, but it actually is a matter of fitting the style to the situation. No supervisory philosophy works all the time. It is important to use a flexible approach.
Accomplished supervisors combine different approaches. It is what has become known as “network management. ” Managerial networking at the supervisory level is concerned with the integration of each officer into the organization. Efforts are directed toward true communication and the sharing of ideas, information, and resources. It is the focus on decision making that improves work life and productivity. Networks exist to foster self-help, exchange information, and share resources. The problem is focused upon, and networking enhances the ability of, each individual to respond to the problem.
In fact, the individual is the most important element of the network. The value of networking is rooted in informality, equality, and true acceptance. It is the fait accompli of effective supervision. Management Expectations of the Supervisor Supervisors serve as a communication link between the line and higher management. They are responsible for turning the concepts and visions of those in higher positions into the “nuts-and-bolts” reality of police work. Supervision—The Management Task 21 Sergeants must translate the intentions of management into actuality.
Because management expects results (not excuses), it is the responsibility of the firstline supervisor to respond to this challenge. The key is for the supervisor to work diligently at developing the skills that cause employees to become energized and emphasize effective task completion. Vocational duties must be subordinate to getting work done through employees. One expert suggests asking the question “What kind of employee would I like to have working for me? ” The response to that question provides the first-line supervisor a standard by which to work and live (Broadwell, 1998).
It is a process that ensures success because it reinforces and focuses supervisory efforts. Positive Attitude Everyone likes to be around people who are positive. It can be contagious. It will have a strong influence on working relationships. Think of how much better it is to be involved with people who obviously enjoy work and the challenges it presents. When a new general order or policy is promulgated, the best way to react to it is positively. Response should be based on a precise evaluation of ways that will ensure the policy is workable.
Everyone, especially the supervisor, must refrain from finding reasons why it will not work (Dobbs and Field, 1993). Supervisors should train themselves to think about the positive side of an idea or suggestion rather than the bad aspects. When addressing a problem there is no room for tentativeness. Problems should be addressed without circumspection. It is not a question of being unrealistic but looking for ways things can be done rather than why something will not work. When a supervisor focuses on achievement rather than failure, confidence becomes an integral component of success.
It is fundamental to human nature that the boss will respond to recommendations suggesting “this is what it will take to make this work” rather than “this is why this cannot be done” (Broadwell, 1998). Amazingly, this works. Viewing things in a positive frame of reference focuses energies where they are needed to enhance policy implementation successfully. One can present negatives but should not dwell on them. Stressing the positive is a contagious supervisory process that works. Without question, enthusiasm is an intrinsic state of being.
It is natural for one to be positive, creative, and challenged by the work being performed (Carlson, 1998). The boss’s ideas may still be questioned, but at the proper time and place. This simply means that the idea should be evaluated carefully and criticized constructively, but not rejected simply because it has “never been done that way before. ” Individuals who think positively are “results oriented”—a characteristic management is actively seeking. The supervisor must view each obstacle as an opportunity and a challenge. It is like looking at a half-filled 22 Effective Police Supervision lass of water and trying to determine whether it is half-full or half-empty. It is obvious that the positive thinker views the glass as half-full. Positive thinking is a way of dealing with obstacles in a constructive manner. It actually is a way of viewing life. The nature of circumstances, places, things, and attitudes toward people can always be affirmative if one wants to view them as such. Because desirable attitudes can be cultivated, the new supervisor should strive to identify means of finding workable solutions to conflict, starting with developing a positive attitude toward employees.
A supervisor expresses positive thinking by noticeable enthusiasm, expressive body language, eye contact, and clarity of speech. It is also essential that the supervisor operate from a position that exudes confidence in such a manner that everyone knows where she or he stands. Loyalty The organization anticipates specific behavioral outcomes from first-line supervisors and one of these outcomes is loyalty. It is of extreme importance. In should never be discounted. It should be an integral part of the police culture. Loyalty is the cornerstone of character.
It is an indispensable characteristic of a positive working relationship between differing levels of management. Middle and top management want to believe that rules, regulations, policies, and decisions coming down through channels are supported by first-line supervisors. The supervisor should realize that policies set at one or two levels above him or her will, in many instances, lose some of their significance. In fact, their actual need for existence might be questioned by line personnel. A policy may be viewed as unreasonable when it is not fully explained.
The first-line supervisor is seldom in a position to know all the facts and rationale for a new policy. The view from the top or middle of the organization is very seldom duplicated at the supervisory level. Only so much information can be sent down through channels. Most managers do not have the time to explain in depth the rationale for each policy. Normally, managers are making decisions based on more factual material, possibly unavailable at the operational level. If some information is needed before a new policy can be explained to subordinates, then the supervisor must ask for clarifying information.
When one accepts the position of supervisor, they accept the obligation of being part of the team, not apart from it. This is not an easy task to accomplish but it must be done if the supervisor is to be successful. Supervisors translate and implement policy and procedures within the organization. The supportive supervisors should ask themselves, “How can this policy be implemented in the shortest period with assurance of actual compliance? ” The important factor in this situation is to find the solution that is best for the department.
In addition, middle and top managers dislike being referred to as the “they” who take those unreasonable stands and demand nonachievable performance. Managers at higher levels have a need for personal loyalty from supervisors, and this should be reciprocated. Supervision—The Management Task 23 Loyalty works both ways. First-line supervisors want to feel they have the support and backing of their immediate supervisor and others in the chain of command. Integrity Management must convey to every member of the department the ethical standards that govern each and every action taken when performing law enforcement duties.
Without question, it is essential to convey a tradition of excellence, professionalism, and commitment to the protection of the constitutional rights of everyone (Hiester, 1996). The equal administration of justice is the cornerstone of the integrity required of every member of a police department. People cannot be left to speculate as to the values of the organization. Clear and explicit signals must be given both within and outside the organization that integrity cannot be compromised. Management must expect every supervisor to be a role model when it comes to integrity both on and off the job.
A commitment to integrity cannot be just an abstract value; it must be reflected in the day-to-day conduct of every supervisor. It can never be compromised. Every word and every deed must reflect an adherence to a standard that is clearly above reproach. A supervisor is in a position to shape the attitudes and conduct of line officers by setting an example of personal conduct that exemplifies an adherence to a strong code of ethics (see the Code of Ethics in Chapter 11). Setting an example is a leadership task that must be provided by a firstline upervisor. Integrity can never be compromised, and every action must reflect a commitment to a principle of ethical policing. A supervisor must realize that once one’s reputation is tarnished, it is next to impossible to recover. The competent supervisor will never be placed in such a position that their personal integrity can be questioned. The significance of integrity at the supervisory level cannot be questioned. It is the administrative level where values can be reinforced and aberrant behavior controlled.
An excellent example of the importance of integrity to an organization is the mission statement utilized by the Baltimore Police Department that expresses in no uncertain terms that that the department must maintain the highest level of integrity in all of its actions. Performance Managers expect (and indeed have a right to demand) the thorough completion of tasks on time. Supervisors should do everything asked of them. If an assignment cannot be completed on time, the next manager up the line needs to be consulted with an explanation. Perhaps more time is needed or help is required in understanding the problem or completing the task.
There are very few managers who will not accept a request for help if assistance is necessary in completing an assigned project. Asking for help is 24 Effective Police Supervision not an admission of incompetence; it is an acknowledgment that the manager has an expertise as yet unacquired by subordinates. Every manager expects personnel to be on time and to take appropriate coffee or meal breaks. Supervisors should set the standard not only for their officers, but also for everyone else in the department. First-line supervisors have to accept being at the fulcrum between management and line operations.
If problems occur, first-line supervisors are usually the first to know. Supervisors also have a responsibility to identify problems and respond to subordinates’ complaints; thus they can serve as part of an early warning system. They are privy to the interaction between officers, know what is being said on the radio and in e-mails, read messages on mobile terminals, review reports, and observe officers on a continuing basis. They know when things are going wrong and can act accordingly (McCarthy 2000). Functioning as a go-between is a supervisory responsibility.
No one else can effectively accomplish the tasks of interpreting rules, regulations, and policies and translating organizational demands for the cooperative attainment of agency goals. It is also essential that the supervisor be involved in the continual review of rules to ensure that they are practical (Solar, 2001). Responding to Management Because management is continually in need of information, supervisors must submit a wide range of requested reports in order to reflect adequately the tasks being accomplished by subordinates. Reports must be completed on time and must be comprehensive.
There is nothing worse, in the view of most managers, than a poorly prepared or late report. The nature of police work is such that most supervisors are assessed largely on the basis of reports submitted. While supervisors might have continuing contact with their immediate manager, other management superiors might use the written work submitted by a supervisor as the only source for evaluating performance. In fact, in many medium- or large-sized agenc