The Police Chief - November 2010 - (Page 54)

Transforming a Police agency assessmenT To PromoTion By Don Zettlemoyer, Director, The Pennsylvania State University Justice and Safety Institute, University Park, Pennsylvania; and Rick Jacobs, Professor, Department of Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania by connecTing Training, Performance, and ith a population of 1.3 million, the two-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago maintains a diversified economy. Energy is the primary economic driver, but the nation actively seeks to expand the economy both in terms of size and underlying structure to assure long-term economic sustainability that will improve the standard of living for all citizens. Finding the right mix of new opportunities and how they might be developed remains a matter of debate. While many avenues are being pursued, one undesirable means emerged: the nation’s proximity to South America has drawn the drug trade. The islands have become a transshipment point for narcotics, with negative side effects that include an increase in crime—much of it gang driven. The nation is served by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS). The TTPS has a current strength of 6,400 sworn personnel. Agency ranks are divided into two divisions: the 1st Division, which represents senior leadership; and the 2nd Division, which represents front-line officers (constables) and front-line supervisors (corporals, sergeants, and inspectors).1 Recent years have seen a sharp and continuing spiral of violence, with increases in homicides, robberies, and other crimes against persons proving particularly challenging. Much of the citizenry feels unsafe, and public confidence in the TTPS has significantly eroded. There are also concerns among potential visitors that travel and 54 THE POLICE CHIEF/NOVEMBER 2010 W tourism may be best in other island destinations, which compounds the serious threat to economic growth. In 2005, the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of National Security tapped the Pennsylvania State University Justice and Safety Institute (Penn State JASI) to join an ambitious, multifaceted initiative to transform the TTPS. Penn State JASI was tasked, under contract, with developing a training strategy that would support the improvement effort within TPPS. Penn State JASI conducted an on-site job study that quickly indicated a widespread lack of accountability and, hence, direction throughout the TTPS. A majority of the problems could be attributed to structural issues, such as the limitation of the commissioner’s powers in regard to hiring and discipline. The recognition of crime, its underlying causes, and the potential solutions resided within the TTPS, but the manpower, planning, basic human resource processes, and general authority over personnel were governed by an agency outside of the TTPS, causing a problematic disconnect. front-line supervisors. Senior leadership was also provided with training, but the bulk of activity was directed toward supervisory personnel. Between 2005 and 2009, TTPS members were exposed to a wide variety of training programs, including supervision for front-line leaders; change management and strategic planning for senior leaders; trainthe-trainer for personnel charged with training at the basic and in-service levels; field training officer program; media relations; and customer service. All programming was customized specifically for Trinidad and Tobago, and most included the creation of training videos with TTPS personnel acting out the roles in various scenarios. In all, more than 2,700 personnel were trained with the bulk being from corporal to inspector ranks of the 2nd Division. While training often energizes and educates members of an organization, training by itself will not result in any deep transformation. It is important to note other equally ambitious efforts led by other domestic and out-of-country entities. George Mason University, for one, led a model stations initiative designed to promote more proactive modes of policing within the TTPS and provided guidance in developing and updating policies and practices for the agency. Sustained progress and ultimate success in transforming a large agency takes time and committed, skilled leadership that permeates all leadership ranks. The commitment to transform a police agency is more often than not generated by the fear of crime by the public. To ease public fear, time is necessary to accomplish sustained transformation, but time is not something granted by a fearful public demanding change. This places tremendous pressure on those leading the effort to change. One sure way to resolve this dilemma is to provide clear, consistent, and almost constant communication to the public that demonstrates the challenges being addressed and the successes along the way. The Police Reform Act Front-Line Training As would be true for any large, complex organization, it was clear that substantive change would take significant time and effort. The primary concern was to put, to the degree possible, the appropriate tools in place that would allow for change over time. With this in mind, Penn State JASI proposed to place the primary emphasis on training In late 2006, the Trinidad and Tobago parliament passed the Police Reform Act. This act was designed to address many of the obstacles that hindered the agency’s ability to move forward and respond to the changed policing environment. One key element of the act was granting the commissioner of police greater authority over personnel matters. Another key element changed the manner by which all sworn personnel were promoted, in particular to and within the 1st Division (senior leadership). Performance appraisal and independent assessment. The legislative language covering matters of promotion provided the opportunity to move the organization

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Police Chief - November 2010

The Police Chief - November 2010
President’s Message: The Year Ahead
Legislative Alert: Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Sustain Federal Government
IACP Foundation: Law Enforcement Leaders Learn, with a Corporate Twist
Chief’s Counsel: Legal Training and Concerns for Conducted Energy Weapons
Advances & Applications
The Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute: A Bellwether for Leadership Training in Florida
Training for Face-to-Face Encounters
Beyond Survival toward Officer Wellness (BeSTOW): Targeting Law Enforcement Training
New Members
Product Update
Transforming a Police Agency by Connecting Training, Performance, and Assessment to Promotion
The Field Training Experience: Perspectives of Field Training Officers and Trainees
Tips for Training with a Firearms Simulator
Survey: The Status of Field Training
Nine-Week Army Program Provides Civilian Police Force Training
Educational Programs for Fusion Center Directors
Training and Tools to Serve the Line Officer
Technology Talk
Index to Advertisers
Highway Safety Initiatives

The Police Chief - November 2010