The vast majority of the law enforcement officers in this country perform their very difficult jobs with respect for their communities and in compliance with the law. Even so, there are incidents in which this is not the case. All organizations have problem employees. It only takes a few problem employees to lower morale, productivity, and ruin the image of the department. A police manager is responsible and accountable for controlling an employee's unacceptable behavior at work. This paper examines issues relating to identifying police officers who have potential problems; explains the essential components of early warning (EW) systems to identify such officers; and describes the characteristics, structure, and processes of a model program.
Promoting accountability and Effective Management.
Studies of law enforcement agencies have yielded empirical data that a small number of police officers are responsible for a disproportionate amount of problematic police behavior. Many law enforcement agencies have developed data-based personnel management systems to identify problem behavior. Generally, these systems are non-punitive, in that the intervention prompted includes peer review, counseling or additional training, and not formal discipline. The long term objective of this type of system is to create a culture of accountability in the agency. Several agencies that have implemented personnel management systems have experienced significant reductions in complaints against officers and a reduction in litigation (Managing police organizations). .
Managers must accept primary responsibility for controlling the vast discretionary power of police officers. Clearly, strong community oriented policing requires face-to-face interaction between police officers and community residents. Unfortunately, some police managers have not yet accepted this challenge, and this is the basic reason why there has been constant pressure for civilian review boards and other such external review agencies (Managing police organizations).