1st Edition

Police Leadership in a Democracy Conversations with America's Police Chiefs

By Jim Isenberg Copyright 2010
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    Every day the media floods the airwaves with their often-contradictory version of the role and behavior of the police force. Based on this, you might think that police officers either brutally enforce their own interpretation of the nation’s laws or use all the modern tools available to carefully and persistently uncover the special clues that lead to the identification and arrest of suspected criminals. Based on interviews with 26 police chiefs, Police Leadership in a Democracy: Conversations with America’s Police Chiefs takes a poignant journey through the minds of the men and women who have risen to the top of a profession essential to the country’s safety and security.

    The book’s interview format gives a voice to police chiefs from cities and regions as diverse as Newark, New Jersey; Lenexa, Kansas; and Richmond, California. They discuss their visions for their departments and the challenges they faced bringing that vision to fruition, including mistakes made along the way. The chiefs speak candidly about their relationships with mayors, unions, community leaders, and their own officers. Highlighting the importance of these inherently challenging relationships, chiefs assess their strengths and, in some cases, their failures. They explain their approaches to working with the community to reduce crime and the difficulties involved in gaining support for these community policing efforts.

    Though their jurisdictions were different, the chiefs universally recognized the fundamental need to develop and support their police officers while building strong relationships between the community and the political structure of the city. Opening a window to the day-to-day realities of police leadership, this book offers a realistic view of the challenges of motivating street cops to enforce the law in a way that helps citizens build trust in it and in them.

    Choices of Police Leaders in America
    Policing: An Evolving American Institution
    Leadership as a Balancing Act: “Walking the Razor’s Edge”
    Strategies to Reduce Crime While Protecting the Public
    Community Policing
    Broken Windows
    Problem-Solving Policing
    Measuring Performance and Results Internally
    Communicating the Vision: Building and Managing a Team
    Police Leadership Training
    Internal Police Culture
    Police Unions
    Supervision and Internal Accountability
    External Relations and Political Challenges
    Community Relationship Buildin
    Political Pressure
    Accountability and Performance Measure
    Private Security Services
    Significance of the Role of the Police Leader

    Introducing the Police Chiefs
    Profiles of the Police Chiefs
    Significance of Discussion: Why This Group of Police Leaders?

    A Vision for the Department and the Community
    Police Leadership in a Democracy: What Does This Mean?
    Consistency of the Chief ’s Message
    The Police Chief ’s Vision Provides the Balance for Success
    Challenges to the Leader’s Vision: External and Internal Pressures
    Significance of the Vision of the Police Leader

    Implementing the Vision: How Chiefs Make It a Reality
    Diagnosis of the Problems: A Primary Task of the Chief
    Active Persuasion: Gathering Support for the Vision
    Police Leadership: It Can Be a Lonely Job
    Significance of Implementing the Vision

    Strategies for Enforcement and Working with Communities
    Community Policing and Police Accountability
    Community Policing or Can You Arrest Your Way Out of Crime?
    Bringing the Police and Community Together: How It Can Work
    Significance of the Police Department’s Relationship with the Community

    Developing a Professional Police Officer: It’s a Challenge
    Police Training and Its Link to Leadership
    A College Degree and Its Value to a Police Officer
    Promoting an Officer’s Ability to Communicate with People
    Sergeants and Their Importance to the Chiefs’ Leadership Efforts
    Significance of Training and Its Impact on the Department

    Internal Politics, the Police Chief, and Police Officer Empowerment
    Chiefs’ Experience with Police Unions
    Strategies for Working with the Union
    Chiefs Confront Officer Empowerment Challenges
    Morale, Empowerment, and Officer Performance
    Chiefs’ Final Thoughts on Police Unions and Officer Empowerment
    Significance of Internal Politics and Police Leadership

    External Politics and Relationships with Other Partners
    The Chief ’s Relationship with the Mayor: Another Challenge of Leadership
    Lessons Learned about the Relationship with Mayors
    Watchdog Committees and Departmental Oversight
    Significance of the Working Relations with the Police Chief ’s Partners

    The Future of American Policing: Looking Back and Forward
    Reflections about Leadership and Change
    Current and Future Challenges
    What It Takes to Be a Successful Police Leader

    Recommendations for Police Chiefs and All People Interested in Supporting a Democracy
    Suggested Reading
    Appendix A: Police Chief Participant List
    Appendix B: Demographics of Police Chiefs’ Cities
    Appendix C: Methodology of Study


    James Isenberg