Law Enforcement Technology

JAN 2016

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A F R E S H A P P R O A C H T O M A N A G E M E N T ON YOUR WATCH Carole Moore A 12-year veteran of police work, Carole Moore has served in patrol, forensics, crime prevention and criminal investigations, and has extensive training in many law enforcement disciplines. She is the author of "The Last Place You'd Look: True Stories of Missing Persons and the People Who Search for Them" (Rowman & Littlefield, Spring 2011). She welcomes comments at Keep up with Moore online: Amazon: B004APO40S 38 Law Enforcement Technology January 2016 5 wild ideas to boost your officers' morale A positive outlook can be difficult to keep with the constant barrage of negativity from the news. I f you're like me, turning on the television news has become a game of chicken: I watch it until I can't stand it anymore, then turn it back off. The main reason I bail is because I can't stand to listen to any more anti-police rhetoric, and as you well know, that rhetoric fills the airwaves. Even TV stations that purport to like and support law enforcement officers run the same inflammatory videos over and over and—even worse—give untold hours of publicity to pro- testors. The result: more people show up, the protests grow more violent and police are, once again, tested. I can't blame officers for feeling as though they have targets painted on their backs. No mat- ter how much an LEO works to be fair and do his or her job with honor and distinction, there's someone out there ready to paint every cop with the broad brush of public condemnation. Sadly, they're doing a good job of it. And that constant rhetoric would degrade anyone's attitude. Yet, you can help boost this morale … • Reduce paperwork. It may not seem like there's a direct correlation to hours spent fill- ing out forms, but streamlining your process not only allows officers to spend more time on their beats, it also decreases their frustra- tion with the system. Even though most of what police do these days is by computer, it's tedious. Try to eliminate duplication and unnecessary time spent filling in the blanks. • Encourage more—not less—use of officer discretion. Police officers who are accus- tomed to thinking in terms of gray and not in black and white, should make better deci- sions because they're used to thinking for themselves. If an officer is never allowed to vary from the rule book they'll be unable to make good judgment calls when things go sideways. It's like raising a teenager: at some point you have to trust you've done a good job and give your charges a wide enough berth to make their owns calls. Blind adher- ence to departmental policies and regulations benefits no one. • Take a look at your shifts. Do officers come to work exhausted and drained? Do they often have to go straight from a midnight shift to court? Be the solution and find ways to modify shifts so that you're not putting worn-out officers on the street. A tired cop makes mistakes. If your way is lacking, find a better way to deploy your troops. • Examine your supervisory staff. Face it, not everyone who wears stripes or bars should be leading troops. Take a frank look at your leadership and their fitness for duty. When I was on the line, I had one supervisor who had no use for female officers. He made every shift pure hell. I loved my job unless it included this misogynist. Do your best to root out supervi- sors who should have retired years ago and limit their exposure (and damage) to troops. • Reward good behavior. That said, I also worked for supervisors who were fair, honest, tough and capable. They taught me to bring high standards to the job and never shrink from doing the right thing, even if it was dif- ficult. Make sure you not only keep those kinds of supervisors on board, ask for their input. No one knows the people under their command better than a first line supervisor. There are plenty of other things you can do to bring morale up. We'll talk about them in future columns. In the meantime, here's hoping all of LET's readers have a safe and uneventful beginning to the new year. ■

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