Evaluation is an important part of any job. It is tool for an organization to measure and determined whether employees are doing what they are hired to do. Normally, evaluation is a task delegated to the first-line supervisor to ensure the integrity, honesty, and effectiveness of the evaluation progress (Miller, 20170217). Naturally, evaluation becomes a stressful and unpleasant process that requires first-line supervisor to honestly and brutally accessing strengths and weaknesses in their police officers. Most departments have a set, rigid goals that each police officer should accomplished within the evaluated period. In special cases, like the case study of Sergeant (SGT) Thompson, considerations should be taking place being the normal “checklist” would not reflect accomplishments because of their unique goals. This paper will compare and contrast the differences between traditional police work and community policing. It will also suggest different approaches to the appraisal process.
The case study of SGT Thompson is the classic case of how the traditional way of evaluating police officers’ performance in a patrol unit would not be applicable to the Community Policing (COP). Wycoff (2019) identified three seasons for measuring employee performance: administration, guidance and counseling, and research. Different departments have been known to add to those three reasons. For example, The Houston Police Department added socialization, documentation, and system improvement. Administration is used to help supervisors to make administrative. The HPD sees the added reasons important because they apply in the COP.
Wycoff (2019) states that administration helps supervisors to make decision about promotion/demotion, rewards/punishment, or assignment/termination. Guidance and counseling allow supervisors to help their subordinates to excel or realize their shortfall. Supervisors validate their tests and training effective to improve individual performance. Houston PD added socialization, documentation, and system improvement ensure that certain expectations of their subordinates are properly and clearly conveyed. It documents types of problems and situation police officers are reporting in their community and what they have been doing to fix them. This provides a clear picture of the state of the community and whether those approaches are working. The HPD also values inputs and feedback from their police officers and community members to help identify organizational faults that might impede performance and find ideas to improve the system.
SGT Thompson is responsible for appraising or evaluating her line personnel in her platoon. It is not an easy task because it effects police officers’ promotion or chances to advance in their career. There are several methods of appraisals that SGT Thompson can use to accurately access her personnel’s performance. They are graphic rating scale, critical incident method, behaviorally anchored rating scales, and managing by objectives. Miller (2017) suggests that the Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scheme (BARS) focus on what police officers should be doing base on their specific performance and responsibilities. BARS evaluation method would be most fitting for SGT Thompson’s case because of it does not because it does not base on personal traits and it is a most neutral way to tell how police officers are doing.
However, the integrity and honesty of any performance is at the mercy of the human factor. Supervisors must be fair and impartial evaluators who are not and exception to flaws and susceptible to bias (Miller, 2017). The error of leniency is probably is most common made mistake by supervisors when it comes to rating police officers. Supervisors who constantly make this mistake is often the ones that want to be popular among police officers. They believe that giving a harsh or negative evaluation will result in exposing themselves. The second most error seen evaluation is the error of central tendency. Supervisors who make this error tend to evaluate police officers in the average range. They afraid to make confrontation evaluation. The central tendency destroys the integrity of any evaluation and morale of the team. The most frequent committed error is the halo effect. Once supervisors assume the general impression of their police officers, their evaluation is usually ended up with the impression instead of basing them on their performance.
Miller (2017) states that “a valid performance appraisal is an accurate a measurement of traits, applied problem solving, or goal acquisition that the evaluation purports to measure”. The statement can be seen in the BARS method. It uses a number of critical incidents and behaviors to evaluate police officers. SGT Thompson has a tough job ahead of her because she is “inventing the wheel” in her department when it comes to evaluating police officers who are working on COP. Her plan will be under strict scrutiny by CPT Davis because this is the first in the department.
Wycoff, M. A. (2019). EVALUATING PATROL OFFICER PERFORMANCE UNDER COMMUNITY POLICING: THE HOUSTON EXPERIMEN. Retrieved October 8, 2019, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/151400NCJRS.pdf.
Miller, L. S., More, H. W., Braswell, M. C. (20170217). Effective Police Supervision, 8th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from vbk://9781315400808