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Doing More with Less: Solutions to Budget Cuts to Municipal Police Departments Based on the Meta-Leadership Concept

NCJ Number
.Siak-Journal for Police Science and Practice, International Edition Volume: 1 Dated: 2011 Pages: 62-68
Maria Haberfeld
Date Published
7 pages
This article explores the effects of recession on police departments throughout the United States in the areas of recruitment, training, supervision, and deployment; and strategies are analyzed for circumventing the cuts and relying on creativity and "meta-leadership" techniques.
Information collected from municipal police agencies from 10 States indicates budget cuts are having an adverse impact on recruitment, training, layoffs, the downsizing of various units, and added responsibilities for supervisors. Of particular concern were the cuts in training budgets. This article proposes a "meta-leadership" approach for providing the training needed to maintain the quality of police services. "Meta-leadership" refers to a style of leadership that challenges individuals to think and act cooperatively. Meta-leaders develop ways to engage in interactions outside the scope of their traditional professional boundaries, providing inspiration, guidance, and momentum for creative solutions to organizational problems. Meta-leadership bases the process and practice of leaders on three functional components. One component is a comprehensive organizing reference that understands and integrates the many facets of leadership. A second component is a strategy to engage in collaborative activity, and a third component is the framing of a cause and purpose to improve community functioning and performance. Applying meta-leadership to the challenge of maintaining the quality of police training requires cooperative efforts to provide training in nontraditional ways. One of the most important nontraditional concepts that should be pursued is that every officer is a training officer. This means that every officer is responsible for continuing updates in his/her knowledge. Ways of achieving such self-training include mandatory subscription to periodicals that provide training tips and joining professional associations with a training focus. Police managers should also consult with scholars who specialize in adult learning theories, which can provide guidance in creating an environment and incentive system that encourages officers to be self-motivated "knowledge seekers." 6 references