Downsizing: Dealing with the Economic Downturn

My first thought on a plan of action for a situation consists of the following. I would first try keep all my staff members. I would look for outside funding sources to utilize so I would not have to lay off anyone. The Department of Justice has a program to help grantees find the funding that they need. Another option could be proposing a millage that asks my agency’s community members to consider. Also, my department could consider selling items that we have seized, such as weapons and vehicles. One the most important things to consider would be not to make purchases of any new patrol vehicles or any other equipment an agency could do without. Another option could be asking for department wide pay-cuts, my self-included. In the event none of these plans worked out, I would only then consider the possible layoffs of staff members. I don’t see layoffs as an option unless other non-layoff options have been explored.

I would make any departmental changes within my agency to help the constraints. I would rotate staff that help prioritize my staffing within my patrol division. In example, I would utilize members of other units as patrol officers. i.e. investigators. We work to perform the most important functions, such as providing protection to ensure our community’s safety. I would also have to consider any positions that might be unnecessary and eliminate them or combine them with another position for one staff member who brings the most value. We will also remain proactive in our community policing efforts. My officers will still contact our community members, myself included. I would rotate myself into active patrol. My layoff decisions will be first based on effectiveness and efficiency of a police officer or department member. I would take seniority of staff members into consideration last. My reason for this is that just because an officer has seniority doesn’t mean he or she is performing to their best ability. If there is an officer who been with the department for only two years versus one that has been with us for fifteen years but isn’t proactive or doesn’t follow our mission, then he will not be chosen to stay. We are entrusted with the public’s general welfare and a less than ideal performance is unacceptable.

One of the ethical issues we may face could be personal relationships. Keeping someone on my payroll just because I am friends with them is not right. In this case, one my civilian staff members is married to my sister. If compared to the other civilian staff and this individual didn’t measure up, then regardless of our familial relationship they will be laid off. Also, taking more humanistic approaches to lay-offs can be the wrong way to cut people too. We tend to look at who needs the job most, or who will be impacted most negatively and want to keep those individuals versus those who would benefit the organization or public more. Another ethical issue we could face are un-met employment obligations. If there are union contracts that have promised employees certain things, then we would have to consider those before making lay-off decisions (HR UC Berkeley, 2018).

Some of the internal influences that may present in the process are personal relationships or preferences. Having a close friend who you lean on for support or opinion in tough situations can be problematic. You might not do what is the overall best choice if you let someone else persuade you to do what they might consider is best. External influences could involve how the public wants the issue handled. Another external influence could be politically fueled. Trying to appease the political figures of your community, such as council members can possibly hinder the process. An administrator may fear losing their position if they don’t make the council happy by downsizing. As for how to maintain fairness in work distribution and assignments for those who stay on staff, I will do my best. I will rotate officers to different areas of the department or community. I would also rotate the different required tasks or duties within the department amongst those trained in their respective areas. I would do the same for my civilian staff.

The public would probably react negatively to the lay-offs of law enforcement officers and civilian staff members. They might lose confidence in the department’s ability to maintain their mission and capabilities. They might even stop calling the police for help, if they don’t think that they can provide acceptable services. With all of the comes fear and loss of security and order. Overall, their opinion could sway the administration to keep as many staff members as they could. I think that this would be one of the biggest factors in exploring other non-layoff options.

A management method I would employ would be one that asks for contributions from my staff members. Ask them for their ideas and suggestions to help our department remain successful. This will make them feel important and keep them motivated. Having the knowledge of what makes your individual staff members motivated is extremely important. Also encouraging the staff to become more affiliated with each other and the community members cultivates motivation (Better Workplaces, p. 68). Another method is recognition (Government of Western Australia, para. 6). Also keeping employees informed is good management practice by communicating frequently and giving constant feedback. Employing the best practices are key to ensuring public safety and security. Remaining as transparent as possible with the retained staff and the community is a key to being successful with the possibility of reduction.

Ideally, I would not lay-off any staff members, but sometimes it is inevitable. I would do my best in trying to investigate other options as previously mentioned. I would work to not sacrifice my department’s integrity, and mission statement. Providing the community with security is the most important and most influential factor in my decision-making process. I would strive to continue to better my managerial skills and be as fair as possible. This is important to be able to have a functioning department. All parts of the system must work and perform their assigned tasks, so they can continue to be effective and efficient. This is just as true for a civilian staff member, police officer, and administrators alike.


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Cordner, G. W. (2016). Police administration. New York: Routledge.

Society for Human Resource Management. (n.d.). Managing for Employee Retention. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from

Tasmanian Government. (n.d.). Better Workplaces: Employer Resource Kit. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from

Weber, L. J. (n.d.). Ethical downsizing. Managers must focus on justice and human dignity. Retrieved April 02, 2018, from

Western Australian Government, & The Department of Training and Workforce Development. (n.d.). Rewarding Employee Performance. Retrieved April 02, 2018, from