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Supervising the Police (From Police and Policing: Contemporary Issues, Second Edition, P 37-56, 1999, Dennis J. Kenney and Robert P. McNamara, eds. -- See NCJ-179842)

NCJ Number
Kenneth J. Peak; Ronald W. Glensor; Larry K. Gaines
Date Published
20 pages
In reviewing the role of the police supervisor, this chapter addresses the issues of ethics, decision-making, values, liability and negligence, discipline of subordinates, supervision as it relates to community-oriented policing and problem-solving, and future challenges.
The police supervisor's role is to assist subordinates in performing their duties to the best of their abilities. This task involves a variety of actions, including communicating, motivating, leading, team building, training, developing, appraising, counseling, and disciplining. Enabling subordinates to do their best includes identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each subordinate, defining "good" and "bad" performance, measuring performance, providing feedback, and making sure that subordinates' efforts coincide with the organization's mission, values, goals, and objectives. As if the supervisor's job were not difficult enough, it is made doubly difficult by the dynamic nature of policing, which requires continuing police agency change in response to changing societal conditions, agency conditions, agency personnel, evaluation findings, and political influences. In guiding and instructing officers in the ethical conduct of police business, police supervisors must be above reproach themselves; supervisory values are just as important as line officer values. Under concepts of legal liability, the failure of supervisors to instruct and guide line officers properly can result in agency liability for failure of front-line officers. The chapter section on effective discipline focuses on subordinates' self-discipline, methods of monitoring behavior, and the need for negotiation. Another section of the chapter considers the implementation of total quality management in the context of community-oriented policing and problem-solving. The section on "future considerations" addresses a changing society, adapting to greater diversity, the responsibilities of community-oriented policing and problem-solving, and high technology. A 26-item bibliography