A Mayor is a key figure in creating real change to policing a city or community! It is time to stop the “business as usual” approach to policing not only because of recent police shooting incidents, but because of the new threat as indicated by the FBI Director in a recent US Today article when he stated that the Islamic State influence is growing in the US. We have already seen or heard of this threat within our cities and communities. As first responders, our police officers must be the best trained and equipped, and held to the highest standards of conduct to stay in front of this new and emerging threat.
The annual meeting of the US Conference of Mayors is approaching. I want to offer Mayors my over 34 years of law enforcement experience and knowledge in leading numerous large organizations to successful and effective policing by offering 8 ways US Mayors can enhance police organizations. There will be people who say, “we can’t or don’t need do that” or “it won’t work,” but these proven ways do work. They can be modified as needed to fit any type of city or community. Mayors can be the champion of policing change by adopting these 8-ways:
1. Direct an external evaluation and assessment be conducted by an outside law enforcement agency on your police department.
2. Create a policy that no police officer, regardless of position/rank, will be assigned to the same job/position/location for more than four years. He/she must rotate to another job/position/location.
3. Create a promotion system based on annual performance and potential evaluation reports as well as quarterly written counseling sessions.
4. Create a law enforcement “Think Tank” of experts to review, rewrite and/ or develop policies, standard operating procedures, guidelines and techniques/tactics. These experts will meet at least annually.
5. In an effort to change the culture and infuse needed leadership, hire more military veterans especially noncommissioned officers and officers who possess leadership/professional development training and courses, can bring a new, fresh perspective and thought-process, and have some different skills sets that are vital in today’s uncertain environment. Offer early retirement incentive programs to open up opportunities to hire new people (entry, mid and executive levels).
6. Improve pay, equipment and specialized training (for example, cultural awareness/astuteness, criminal analysis, police intelligence, consideration of others, etc). This is a “need to have” not a “nice to have.”
7. Ensure contentious cases like police shooting deaths are investigated by an external law enforcement organization.
8. Create an annual law enforcement proficiency test which is administered by external law enforcement experts who report directly to the Police Chief and/or the Mayor’s designated representative.
This is a wake-up call to get serious about creating positive change in policing within our cities and counties and holding police accountable to maintain the professional standards expected and people deserve. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.