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week 5 discussion 1

Training the Supervisory Element

While much of the training focus within law enforcement lies with the officers in the field, many departments are now committing significant time and resources towards effective supervisory and leadership training. In looking at the role of officer versus that of supervisor/manager, categorize the focus and goals of training at each level. Identify the importance and impact of the two (2) areas of training on the community and agency. What impact does liability have on the actions of the supervisor or manager? Provide your opinion on the importance of leadership training and the level of supervision at which you deem it most important to ensure the success of the squad, unit, or division.

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Training for the line officer is primarily to reduce liability by educating the officer on constitutional issues through in-service training, as well as teach new skills to improve the quality of service available to the public with specialized training.  

Training for supervisors must focus on management, leadership, supervision, and earning the respect of subordinates. Effective training for line officers and supervisors will result in fewer liability issues from misconduct and illegal conduct of officers. It also improves the quality of product given to the public, as well as the image of the department in the community, which in turn will improve morale within the ranks. Liability for supervisors rests in their ability to effectively supervise, instruct, and lead line officers. An effective supervisor will limit the liability of the department when misconduct occurs, because they will have already identified the problem officer and attempted to work with him, if any warning signs are given. Failure to train, failure to supervise and failure to protect lawsuits are classic ways to bring liability on upper management.(O’Keefe, 2004, pg. 234)  It is only through the deep pockets of the department, city, and state government that lawsuits are lucrative. Suing the individual officer typically does not result in much of a settlement.

It is essential that supervisors properly lead their subordinates, and monitor them carefully, not spy on them. The book refers to organizational stability, which I believe infers that all supervisors and administrators are all on the same page with goals, policies and management strategies to ensure an equal and positive work environment for all within the department. Sadly, too many supervisors are either ineffective at transitioning from workhorse to leader, or are caught up in their own ego to achieve this level of utopia. Training the supervisors in positive leadership techniques can help, but it is important to provide leadership training to prospective supervisors as well, to ensure proper goals and ideas are nurtured.

 O’Keefe, J. (2004). Protecting the republic: The education and training of American police officers. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

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