In my seventeen years as a LEO, like all of you, I have seen my fair share of policing theories. Intelligent Led Policing (ILP), Community Oriented Policing (COP), Problem Oriented Policing(POP), Predictive Policing(PP) and most recently Dynamic Effective Policing (DEP). These theories all had their individual strengths and weaknesses, and were all accepted at different levels by departments and front line staff. Some of these theories are still in infant stages of growth with great possiblities in the future.
As each of these theories was integrated into an agency they affected different portions of the staff and community. Many of the concepts produced some outstanding results, and at times, less than desirable outcomes were the result of the implementation. The concepts have been well received at times by different staff levels, but also have seen their fair share of road blocks. I don’t believe the road blocks were ever the direct result of undermining by a particular staff member or group agency employees.
With any new management philosophy any seasoned business person will tell you that “buy off” and acceptance by all levels of an organization are required for a successful change. The way this happens is good communication from the leadership to the staff. It happens by providing the staff the tools, resources, technology, training and support necessary to implement the project. One view on this is that until recently the technology and resources have not always been available to agency leaders to implement many of these management philosophies. Some of the technology and resources that could greatly enhance the theories did not exist at the time of implementation. In recent years tech based companies have recognized the “niche” market and the need for technology research and development in law enforcement, due to this we have seen some revitalization in many of these theories as well as newly defined theories for policing.
Policing agencies have tried in the past to educate their employees and citizens to the value of the new strategies and theories, but not always with measured success. Communications have always been a hindrance of an agency in these situations. One problem was that leaders were trying to implement concepts that require a huge amount of communication from the “top” to the “bottom” of the organizational chart as well they required the same flow from the “bottom” to the “top”. Many of these theories also required the ability to communicate with the public on many different levels.
I believe the citizens of any community are the “customers” of that agency and a department needs to view them as such. Further, I see the employees from street patrol to management as the sales team for the agency to implement new and innovative policing concepts, technologies and theories, selling the concepts intra-departmentally as well as to the citizens. Even if the “team” does a great job selling the concepts, the tools need to be available to implement the idea.
Lets look at Community Oriented Policing….then concepts were good. An agency integrated the community into the policing of itself allowing for more eyes and ears to basically generate more information about criminal conduct within the community, thus potentially solving more crimes (scaled down version of course). One issue I saw with this theory was at the time this concept was thrown into law enforcement, communication was the key, yet technology had not been developed and integrated into society enough to allow the process to develop. Not everyone had a computer, email, social network site or the ability to communicate within the department or with the citizens they served on a practical level. So information flow was the key in this theory in my opinion. The concept holds a tremendous amount of value, but without the proper tools for the implementation, the end result is a bound to have issues.
As each new theory is interjected into the policing world the leaders as well as the organization need to ensure that the tools exists to implement the concepts, in this example technology. As in today’s world technology is the driving force in policing when it comes to communication. I predict we will see many more versions of enhanced police management theories or the expansion of current models.
I have found each of the theories I have mentioned to have very useful and innovative concepts. In future articles I will visit the possiblities of why some of these theories did not expand further than they did in law enforcemnent. I will visit the concept of directional introduction with these theories, where was the idea introduced? Was the theory managment driven? Was the theory citizen driven? Was the theory driven by scholars, or was the street level officer the driving force?
Author: Kirk Keyser
Vice President- ICP Archway Inc.
Copyright ICP Archway 2011.