Police Leadership in a Democracy : Conversations with America's Police Chiefs book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781439808344
Published August 21, 2009 by Routledge
158 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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