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

Police Leadership in a Democracy

Conversations with America's Police Chiefs, 1st Edition

By Jim Isenberg

CRC Press

158 pages

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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


About the Series

Modern Police Administration

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Security / General
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science