Change in Departments
Ironically, change is a constant in our lives, and it is no different in police agencies. Changes occur for a number of reasons, 8 of which are discussed in Police Administration. The first reason is an event in which leads to a change in chief of police due to civil litigation. For example, if a chief of police displays poor judgment when having deceives handle a rape victim’s case causing further emotional distress and a lack of safety may result in civil litigation against the department. This would all be based on the chief’s decision making. A second reason would be a newly elected mayor replacing an existing mayor. This can occur if the mayor carries a new vision for the community that the current chief of police doesn’t uphold to. Another reasons would be if a major political figure suffers a sever embarrassment and argues that “the law enforcement agency is to blame” (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). A fourth reason would be that a chief of police has either retired, fired, or accepts another position. When a “new sheriff is elected and implements the changes that were part of the platform on which he or she ran,” change is bound to occur (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). For example, the new sheriff may find there is a need to review policy and request changes. A sixth reason for change is when high expectations are not respected and honored such as a sheriff’s relationship with a newspaper printing company and the sheriff’s decision to move to another paper for advertisement (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).
Another reason of change is if the chief of police attitude and conduct become a serious issue and eventually needs to his/her dismissal of officer (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012). The eighth and final reason for change is when moral of the department is considered law and the current administration is responding to issues without preparation and thought. These situations are identified by the following: high volume of complaints against officers, excessive use of sick leave by officers, high rates of turnover, and low levels of experience in the department (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).
There are 5 reasons in which why change should not be made, and they are as followed: 1) when the knowledge, skill, or other resources needed to carry out effectively do not exist inside the department, 2) when an appropriately experienced external change agent is not presently available, 3) when the effort of making the change is greater than any of the benefits to be derived from change, 4) when collateral damage may lead to chief to use their limited stack of “political chips” on another issue of greater concern to them and the community, and 5) when too much damage is already underway in the department and that change is not sufficiently important at the current time (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).
The Traditional Action Research Model is comprised of 5 steps. These steps include: 1) recognizing the need for change, where awareness for changes arises from Supreme Court rulings to findings from civil litigation, 2) Assessing/diagnosing the situation, this is where a) the opportunity or problem is determined and b) the gap and difference between what is happening and what the department would like to have happen is determined, 3)action planning, the chief determined who is in charge of the change process based on internal candidates skills and capabilities, 4) change intervention/implementation, this is when plans are completed and implemented accordingly, and 5) evaluation, where a series of report and periodic observation and conversation with personnel involved in various level of the department are conducted, from which a decision is made whether a change is needed or not (Swanson, Territo, Taylor, 2012).
Swanson, Charles, R., Territo, Leonard, Taylor, Robert W. (2012) Police Administration: Structures, Processes, and Behaviors. (8th) Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Print.