Term Limits for Specialized Units




Jenkins, Earnest

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Police departments around the world have specialized units with officers who have received advanced investigative and technical training. The size of the department does not matter; these units are essential to the department’s survival. This paper will address the issue of the police personnel assigned to a specialty position for an extended period and how this extended stay hinders their professional growth and prevents other personnel from the opportunity to benefit from a specialty assignment. This is relevant to law enforcement because officers often stagnate in one position, which lowers their morale and allows for complacency (Bean, 2009). An agency with a sound rotational system will create opportunities for officers to advance their career and build a well-rounded agency. Limiting police corruption is an enormous undertaking but rotating personnel can result in significant reduction of its footprint in the department, thereby allowing transparency. The periodic rotation of officers in specialized units will keep those unethical officers, in that environment, from developing an attitude of being above the law. Term limits can help prevent police officers from becoming stagnant and/or experiencing “burnout” in the agency. A change in job duties equals new experiences, challenges, and dimensions, which can serve to motivate those on the road to burnout. Rotating the personnel will stimulate the organization with new ideas and provide officers with a wide range of knowledge and skill throughout the department. With a strong rotational policy, the department will benefit from a more motivated group of officers, energized to serve the citizens.


Police--personnel management, Police--specialized units