Dec 19, 2017 in Law

Developing First-Line Supervisors

Introduction

During the history, the society has formed its own definition of who is the supervisor in law enforcement. Most people will say that the profession of the officer is dangerous and difficult. It is associated with constant physical and mental stress and is full of danger and risk. According to risk and intensity, the officer job is only the second after miners and is ahead of the car drivers, firefighters, doctors, diplomats, military officers and others. Regularly, researches conducted by European Community showed that the police profession continues to lead a scale of citizens` trust (70%) leaving behind the military, television, radio, press, parliament, trade unions, and even church (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010).

From year to year, the demand for the position of the policemen has been steadily increasing. In a democratic society, the citizens need to be sure that those who are called to defend the law have passed thorough professional screening, have met well-defined requirements, are carriers of ethical standards adopted in the community, and are willing to comply with them. On this occasion, the American scientist A. Vollmer ironically said that the citizens believe that the officer should have the wisdom of Solomon, the courage of David, the patience of Jacob, the ability to lead of Moses, the genius strategic of Alexander the Great, and finally, knowledge of the physical, biological, and social sciences. If a man possessed all these qualities, he could be a good officer. The British experts in 1920 expressed the pinion that a person cannot be a good officer if he doesn`t have more than average mental ability, good memory and observation (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010). “A leader is a motivator, coach, disciplinarian, mentor, encourager, restrainer, teacher, evaluator, team builder and role model. Successful leaders have the wisdom to assess the situation and determine the correct role or combination of roles needed for the movement, he priorities of our varied responsibilities can change in a  moment, depending on the circumstances we face” (Vernon, 2009, p. 48). He should combine high moral, intellectual and physical qualities that are not necessary for people of other professions. He must always act discreetly and prudently and be proactive in various contingencies.

Therefore, development of the first-line supervisors is crucial for providing effective law enforcement system.

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Past Practice

Judging from the history, development of the first-level supervisors based mostly on the technical expertise. Main problems in the first-line supervisory selection have been reported more than 30 years ago and are still relevant. “Leadership in law enforcement historically depended on a strong, authoritarian chief. However, this style of leadership neglects everything known about people and their behavior. Coercion discourages creativity and risk taking and often causes people to rebel” (Hess, 2012). Today supervisory selection usually bases on heavily technical expertise and only after on leadership competencies. Usually technical experts, who do not have an aptitude or interest in leadership, become the first-line supervisors.

The past practice in development of the first-line supervisors can be observed on the example of the forensic programs in law enforcement. “First, supervisors and managers that took no position on the new forensic program, positive or negative. They wanted to know specifically what their responsibilities were. They simply followed the agency’s management directions and adhered to what was expected of them. This group was quiet and maintained a low profile on the topic and was the largest group.  Second, supervisors and managers who were opposed to the change, some quite adamantly, and were content stay with the present system. Many felt this move unnecessary and new forensic technology was time-consuming and unproven. Many also believed their authority as supervisors and managers had been compromised by a new system which included a new policy manual” (Forensics and First Line Supervisors). One of the serious problems, in terms of maintaining the professionalism of public bodies, is the staff turnover and the staff insecurity that undermines the results of the staff training. In cases where the turnover is not a problem, there is a need for more structured training program involving various representatives from both: executive and judiciary, and public and non-governmental sectors. The important topics for training include database law enforcement, due process of law and informed decision-making. “The supervisory probationary period is not consistently being used as the final step in the selection process. Federal managers are not consistently using the probationary period as the final step in the selection process for first-level supervisors. In Fiscal Year 2009, just one half of one percent of new supervisors were reassigned or separated for failure to complete probation. In addition, in the 2007 Merit Principles Survey, only 64 percent of supervisors affirmed that they had been informed of the probationary period while fewer than half (47 percent) stated that their performance during their probationary period had been used to decide if they should retain a supervisory role”(A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010).

This means that law enforcement system should be developed taking to consideration past practices.

Skills Development

The effective leadership and good governance is not the same thing. The supervisor is the person who manages the team and coordinates its actions. The supervisor may not be a creative and talented person, but he should be disciplined, focused and balanced. This is someone who can listen carefully and speak correctly, judge people and things, and understand weaknesses of others. This means that the supervisor is not the one who creates the ideas to do the work. He is the one, who coordinates the work in general.

To enhance the impact and effectiveness of penalties for environmental violations, one must make a range of changes, particular to improve the nature of the instrument of the environmental policy, as well as to take measures to strengthen the institutional system of the environmental enforcement of the country. Primary basis for such a change should be a systematic approach to the environmental regulation. It can be viewed as the need to diversify the punishment and abandon the excessive emphasis on fines, which are perceived by non-state partners as the chase for yield. Further development requires organizational and analytical skills of the enforcement agencies, which will help to correct in practice, and common approaches to the specific methods of their work. One also needs to continue to expand opportunities for the participation of non-state actors in environmental enforcement (Hess, 2012).

“Many new supervisors are not receiving the training and development opportunities they need both to understand the agency’s expectations for supervisors and to manage their employees effectively. Less than two-thirds of supervisors said that they received training prior to or during their first year as a supervisor. Of those who received training, almost half (48 percent) received one week or less” (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010). This means that near 3 quarter of the first-line supervisors in law enforcement do not have access to the training programs. Therefore, the first step that should be done is providing the supervisors with all necessary information to have the possibility for the sustainable development. According to A Call to Action, “Informal development complements structured training by giving supervisors multiple opportunities to apply, strengthen, and expand the competencies developed in structured learning experiences. The MPS 2007 results showed that many supervisors are participating in informal development activities. This is clearly a positive step. More managers need to provide helpful feedback and coaching to supervisors both to help them improve their effectiveness in managing their work groups and to communicate through their actions that feedback giving is an important function of supervision” (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010). This means that there should be an increased variety of the training programs and the possibility to train for the first line supervisors. As the more time they spend to develop their skills, the better results they will show on action.

Traits

In order to provide the best service the first thing that should be done is to develop the first-line supervisors sector. This type of police officers is responsible for the main mechanisms of organization of the whole work in the police office. In addition, they directly participate in everyday activities of the police office. Another major task of the supervisor is to facilitate in on-the-job training and to improve their staff. In other words, the first-line supervisor should have enough skills to be not only a good leader, but to have enough experience to develop the other officers` abilities in the police station (Hess, 2012).

“Although many leadership traits have been identified, none dominate. Leadership trait theory was highly popular because it simplified the process of selecting leaders. Guaranteed leadership through possession of special traits, however, was never fully realized because of the large number of traits identified and that no single person possessed them all. No criteria determined which traits were more desirable than others. Even possession of all the traits did not guarantee leadership success” (Hess, 2012, p. 16). This means that first of all in the variety of traits theories an individual should be examined and only after that all other factors of influence.

The first line supervisors in law enforcement should be first of all human. This means that he should be the person and the citizen of the highest value. He or she should not spare their blood, health, and if necessary own life, to protect a person, his/her life, health, honor and dignity.  He should always treat others from the point of law, observe the spirit and letter of the law, build the police service so that no one is unjustly accused and no criminal goes unpunished, but mandatory and unconditional compliance. However, the major thing that a good supervisor should primary do is “Build strong working relationships with your employees. Set the tone for the work relationship by meeting with each employee to become mutually acquainted with each other’s goals, concerns, interests, communication preferences, and working styles. Meet regularly with each employee to review progress on work assignments; provide direction, feedback, and information; address obstacles or concerns; and discuss the employee’s development. In addition, talk informally with each employee at least every few days to get to know them as people and to offer informal feedback and appreciation for their work”(A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010).

Promotional Prospects

Promotional prospects are an essential component of a successful person, so the majority of the first line supervisors in law enforcement seek to advance the service and feel the freedom. Scientists conducted a study and found that basically the main reason for the career growth is the desire to increase and to gain freedom in the financial aspect and professionally. Most people who have chosen a particular profession, constantly striving for self-fulfillment and professional development. They are trying to identify their leadership skills and meet ambitions. A common reason for a career growth is the human desire to reach the higher position which gave him the opportunity to be better satisfied with their needs, therefore, career can be seen as the process, which is efficient for human exploration key areas of its environment (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010).

Legal Consideration

Narrow social base, the lack of development ideology and imitation state (in which the monarchical or republican institutions are nothing more than a cover for authoritarian forms of government) deny the legitimacy of the police state and make it a short century, are the historical course standards. Most often, the term of existence of a police state is the same as life (or innings), his creator. There are only two excludes: the transition to the rule of law and a revolutionary new entry into the series with all the main phases: the violent struggle for power, the victory of the revolutionaries, the revolutionary dictatorship of the revolutionary transformation of power, the dismantling of the revolutionary state (and the economy), civil chaos, the new police state (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010).

The first option is preferable. However, its implementation requires a combination of three factors: the eclipse of the creation of a police state, the presence of the country's civil society that can take over the function of the "builder" of law, achieving a national consensus on the issue of how a peaceful transition from a police state to the rule. The rate of the historical processes cannot be predicted. We can only point out that the stability of the regime police state affects the degree of patriarchal consciousness of the population, the existence of real or imaginary (in people's minds) threats, whether the threat of invasion or the collapse of the state, the ability of the ruler to start, and most importantly - to win a small war, the stability margin economy (the more primitive, the more stable). However, the number of options for the transition regime of police states to a new state of society is easy to call.

Alternative Course

“Explore ways to provide alternative career opportunities for technical experts. It is essential that Federal agencies recognize the special skills and responsibilities required by a supervisory role, provide adequate incentives for employees to accept those responsibilities, and recognize and reward those employees who carry out those responsibilities with distinction. Yet it is also essential that the Federal Government does not drive high-performing technical experts who lack the desire or ability to supervise to apply for supervisory positions for want of any other opportunity for advancement, career development, or challenging work.” (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010). Thus, the alternative course is very important for the first line supervisors. The major thing for fruitful work for the supervisor is to be free and to have an option. The alternative course provides the opportunity whether to work in this direction or to choose the other. It is important to have an ability to develop but in the field the supervisor is interested in.

Cost

As the development of the first line supervisor is greatly based on the technical support there is a need to spend much money in technical support. However, it will be rewarded, as the better the supervisor will be trained the better results he or she will show on practice. I order to create the reliable training system in the law enforcement; the both superior and inferior workers have to collaborate in the team. Thus, this collaboration will greatly reduce the cost for training programs, as one of the main developing stage is receiving the feedbacks from the colleques.

Evaluation and Monitoring

Currently, the environmental control and supervision are provided by a number of state bodies whose powers are relatively well defined (though highly fragmented and sometimes overlapping). However, the ability of the government to carry out their function’s concern due to their limited institutional capacity and lack of qualified staff. Many of the potential problems that caused concerns were gradually solved through administrative reforms, but still are an issue of weak cooperation circuit detection and suppression of violations. In addition, environmental authorities need to develop and publish methodological documents, which will explain in detail the types of penalties and conditions of their application, and the order of enforcement. Such documents should be developed in consultation with industry and government stakeholders and published at least electronically (A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010).

“Another way that managers can collect information about supervisors’ performance is to observe them and their employees in action. If subordinate supervisors’ employees provide direct services to clients, managers can occasionally sit unannounced among waiting clients. Managers can listen to what the clients are saying about the service and observe how they are treated by employees”(A Call to Action: Improving First-Level Supervision of Federal Employees, 2010). This means that making feedback from the observation is a perfect way to grade the supervision and the quality of the leading skills of the supervisors.

Conclusions

Leaders are defined by the set of traits that affect the efficiency of the management of people. Among them, there are some of the most important ones: ambition, drive and perseverance, self-confidence, psychological openness, realism, a thirst for knowledge, and other features - those qualities without which it is very difficult to maintain their effectiveness. Therefore, the first line supervisor in law enforcement should have the mentioned features, as well.  First of all, a good leader must have an exemplary character. The first line supervisor should be reliable.

Thus, the first line supervisor should be in the constant process of development. A leader in law enforcement should not only develop his professional skills, but his personality, as well. A leader must have a harmonious blend of qualities, no frills. Too aggressive and too much at ease are detrimental to the team leader. Any quality should be balanced and should not be too pronounced.  The desire to achieve something visible and the desire to realize their potential is crucial for the first line supervisors in the law enforcement. Excessive ambitions, combined with a lack of integrity can lead to undesirable behavior and even corruption. Each leader should be determined. The fist line supervisors should have enough skills to quickly assess the situation and make a decision. One of the other first line supervisor`s characteristics is vigor. He should be mobile, constantly move the goal, and be full of enthusiasm. He has to find unusual and effective solutions that lead to success. A leader should be a source of inspiration; he should be able to motivate people to action.

“Although law enforcement is well known for being resistant to change, as futurist Alvin Toler has said, “Change is not merely necessary to life. It is life.” Managers must shift from telling and controlling people’s work to developing and enhancing them. Managers must ask for subordinates’ input before making critical decisions that affect them. Managers must also listen to their customers—the citizens—in new and more open ways. Managers must stop reacting to incidents and begin solving problems” (Hess, 2012). This means that the manager is in a constant "movement"; he gets to the heart of the matter and finds solutions. First line supervisors are looking for answers and do not give up until they do not get the solution. They work to find information and to implement their plans, which must be regularly checked for efficiency. The leader must be able to listen to his inner voice and to stand firmly on his feet when an important decision rests on his shoulders. He should be able to express himself and to act decisively. He must possess the emotional fortitude.

The desire for learning and acquiring new knowledge is essential for the leader. It helps to introduce into production processes and management of new technologies. People with a thirst for knowledge are highly effective in managing the organization and its people. A person cannot be considered a leader if he/she is biased towards certain beliefs or individuals; a first line supervisor in the law enforcement must be fair and impartial. A good first line supervisor not only maintains high standards, but also constantly raises the bar to achieve excellence in all areas. He does not stand still.

Therefore, the first line supervisors are very important in the whole structure of the law enforcement and should be primary developed.

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