40 FUTURE TRENDS IN POLICING Davis believes these concepts can be operationalized. To do so, leaders need to define goals and expectations. For example, performance evaluations should align with the organization’s goals. Officers should be given clear direction about what their mission is within their area of responsibility. “We need a laser-like focus on our goal in the community—and that is to change the conditions that contribute to crime and disorder,” Davis said. PERF SURVEY RESULTS 95% of agencies agree that communities will place greater expectations on the police to develop trust and maintain legitimacy in their communities. Davis acknowledged that police cannot directly control many of the variables that contribute to crime and disorder. However, police can get involved in discussions with people who can play a role—elected officials, school officials, public health representatives, and others. “We can pull ourselves up to the table. As a profession, we don’t leverage our influence enough,” Davis said. Considerations for a New Organizational Structure Bob Lunney, former Police Chief of Edmonton and the Peel Regional Police Department in Canada and author of Parting Shots: My Passion for Policing, believes a new architecture is needed for police agency structures. “Police departments have a problem with too many layers of bureaucracy,” Lunney said. “Medium to large departments usually have six to eight layers. It’s too many levels to control. It’s stifling imagination and reducing the capacity of the organization to innovate.” Lunney argues there are four fundamental levels of policing, and departments should be structured to reflect that. The four levels are: • Workers – officers and investigators • Supervisors – sergeants and supervisors of investigations • Managers • Executives – the chief and assistant or deputy chiefs Lunney says there are several advantages to a “flatter” organizational structure. First, flatter structures tend to experience fewer communications barriers. Second, they are better at spreading ideas. They also make it easier to establish clear lines of responsibility. If departments adopt a flatter structure, they will also likely have to revise their compensation structure. In Lunney’s view, departments should give higher compensation to employees who are in direct contact with the public and lower compensation to officers working “on the inside.”
The Organizational Structure of Policing, and the Next Generation of Law Enforcement 41 Madison, Wisconsin, Chief Noble Wray agreed that modern departments may benefit from a flatter structure. In the past, one of the main functions of middle management was information sharing, he said. However, with widespread use of e-mail and cell phones, police organizations may be able to streamline middle management structures because information can be shared more directly by the individuals involved. There are potential obstacles to creating flatter organizations, however. Departments operating under consent decrees are sometimes required to maintain specific ratios of supervisors to front-line employees. 38 Additionally, agencies may be viewed as inefficient or as “bucking the system”—thereby opening the department to outside criticism—if they deviate from what are considered “industry standard” ratios of supervisors to officers. New Roles for Retired Officers Chief Dean Esserman from New Haven, Connecticut, is finding ways for retired officers to continue contributing to the department. He noted that when officers retire from most departments, it is an abrupt change, and they may no longer see any opportunity to contribute to the department. Esserman is creating a “cold case” unit to tap into retired detectives’ expertise. In the unit, retired detectives work part-time assisting current detectives. Lunney added that the Edmonton Police Department uses retired officers for communications functions. He said this works very well because the retired officers have a depth of experience that is needed for communicating well. According to Elk Grove Chief Bob Lehner, California also has an effective program allowing retirees to contribute to police departments. Retirees can be paid just a part-time salary, with no benefit expenses incurred by the department, and they are allowed to work up to 960 hours per year. 38. Police Executive Research Forum, Civil Rights Investigations of Local Police: Lessons Learned, (Washington, DC: Police Executive Research Forum, July 2013), http://policeforum.org/library/critical-issues-in-policing-series/ CivilRightsInvestigationsofLocalPolice.pdf.