A Holistic Approach to Policing

With states increasingly enacting laws requiring greater officer and management accountability, law enforcement agencies now have an opportunity to reenvision certain aspects of their approach and redefine the way officers are managed.

Ultimately, a management approach that considers the nuances of the job—and balances concerns like compliance and potential legal defense—offers the greatest benefit to your organization.

And implementing a holistic approach to officer management in the very processes and systems your officers rely on to perform their jobs can help you achieve compliance and better results.

Consider what you capture

The things you choose to document for a given officer effectively become that officer’s employment history with you.

While there’s plenty to be said about the power of positive recognition, a holistic approach to police management goes beyond—establishing effective, workplace-viable ways to document good behavior when it occurs.

What kinds of day-to-day events are your people observing and reporting? What points of data does your agency excel at capturing, and which could it be doing a better job at?

And most importantly, do your agency’s current processes make it difficult to make observations (and thus generate documentation) you feel would be helpful for the long-term management of its people?

If you want to get the right answers, you need to ask the right questions. If your agency doesn’t have the tools in place to “ask” those “questions”—in other words, find the right sort of documentation—then you hobble its ability to manage holistically from the onset.

Get ground-level input from ground-level employees

In short, nobody knows a job better than the person who has to perform it on a daily basis.

There is no better way to get a feel for the jobs of the officers you’re monitoring than by talking to those officers themselves, comparing your notes to what you feel current organizational needs are, and making an effort to align the two.

In this regard, your first-line supervisors (the managers who spend the brunt of their day interacting with the ground-level workforce) are an essential asset as you tinker with your approach to holistic management.

They not only understand and empathize with the challenges officers face in their jobs—but they also understand blind spots in the larger organization’s overall mission.

Make management a function of readiness

Effective emergency response readiness comes down to four key areas:

While interconnecting these areas and turning them into competencies is complex, you can apply these fundamental ideas to inform the management of your people:

  • Without people to articulate problems and set hypothetical policy into real-world play, the system doesn’t need to exist in the first place.
  • Without processes to guide their actions, a lack of standardization makes management and data collection impossible.
  • Without systems to empower processes, human overhead and other inefficiencies will always hamper management.
  • Without metrics to inform people, there’s no way to make corrections or recognize what’s going well.

In other words—shifting to holistic management isn’t an event but an ongoing journey.

Make it an essential part of the way your whole organization stays ready by integrating it with the tools and systems that work well (and replacing the ones that don’t) and you’ve set yourself up for success in the future.

Measure the whole employee

Getting a feel for the real employee and their actual contributions can be difficult if your organization’s tools aren’t designed to facilitate it.

In terms of people management, fewer data silos are always better. When your system centralizes your data, highlights what your organization deems important, and displays it clearly and logically, the system enhances holistic management instead of getting in the way of effective practice—a major change worth striving for.

Discover where your organization stacks up when it comes to holistic readiness, and learn what you can do to take it to the next level.

Posted on Dec 22, 2021