California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 37

UNITED AIRLINES AND POLICING— NOT THAT DIFFERENT? By: Retired Chief Pete Dunbar, Pleasant Hill Police Department Policing in America has taken a public hit for several years. The officer involved shootings and uses of force displayed on TV and social media have caused some second guessing of incidents, legislation mandating accountability and civilian oversight. Expert analysis has shown that in some of the cases, underlying organizational issues led to the unnecessary outcomes that took place. No matter where the incidents took place, most departments have felt the public outcry for reform, including a task force formed by President Obama. The incident in Chicago with United Airlines involving the forcible removal of a passenger isn’t that different from what’s happening in policing. United has a history of low employee morale, going back to the termination of employ- ee pension plans in 2005 when going through bankruptcy protection. The merger with Continental never created a merger of employees, as pilots and flight attendants work under different rules. Policies were never updated and training was not updated to create a single entity to move in one direction. And the public fallout has caused a reac- tion by United to restore public confidence and trust. How did policing and United end up on the same road? The common themes are leadership, accountability, hiring and training. If law enforcement doesn’t learn from the past and focus on these areas, it will be more difficult to sustain trust and provide excellent service to their com- munities. People can choose to fly on a different airline but they have only one police department. Their dissatisfaction can lead to unnecessary political oversight that will affect morale, employee performance and retention. In 2014, $14 billion was spent on leadership training throughout the United States. But if 70% of learning takes place in the workplace and only 10% through formal train- ing, what policies and procedures does your department have in place to develop le aders at every level? Are people being held accountable for their actions and given the ap- propriate competency training tools to perform as needed? Research has found that effective leadership can increase employee engagement by as much as 30%. Effec- tive leadership means those behaviors that create a pos- itive workforce attitude. The frequency that you engage in effective leadership, which includes development of subordinates, has a significant impact on the performance and morale of your department. Yet many of the younger workforce (often described as millennials) feel that their leadership ambitions are not being addressed. In a 2016 Deloitte survey of 7,700 college educated millennials, 66% expect to leave their current organization within five years. The majority cite that their leadership ambitions are not being developed and they lack a sense of loyalty to the organization. The development of effective leadership development programs can have a great impact on your agency today and in the future. This doesn’t mean that we need to promote younger people or we will lose them. What the survey suggests is that no matter what position or classification a person has in your department, they are a candidate for leadership development. The only qualifications necessary is the desire to develop those skills and behaviors and a commitment by the department to be part of that process. Such programs as mentoring, coaching, job shadowing and acting assignments are on the job training examples that have little fiscal costs but makes for a better department today and tomorrow. Many agencies are operating at less than full strength because they cannot hire qualified candidates. We are seeing a change in our recruitment of younger candidate pool from ten years ago. Drug use, lack of “life” experience, deception and psychological issues uncovered during a background are more prevalent than in the past. Being in law enforcement is seen as more dangerous than before and those dangers and public sentiment towards police discourage good candidates from even applying. We’ve got to play a more aggressive role in developing our pipeline, as Fairfield PD has done with their Public Safety Academy, and many have done with cadet and Explorer programs. To use an unpopular phrase, we have to “grow our own”. Finally, training has to be realistic and engaging. Inter- active training with learning activities where students learn by doing provide the greatest opportunity for retention. Training on department policies and procedures, often mundane, can be developed into exercise or scenarios. By sending someone to formal training and not having them follow-up or discuss their experience is a missed opportu- nity to provide training. The CPCA Training Committee has developed a host of classes to assist you in developing your leader- ship skills, building a better team and improve skills in other areas. CPCA training can greatly assist you in not becoming a United.  ■ SPRING 2017 | California Police Chief 37