Early Warning Systems: A Proactive Approach




Hadnot, Joshua L.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Law enforcement is just like any other industry when it comes to personnel issues arising from both on and off the job incidents. This in no way is saying that law enforcement has an abundance amount of officers who are corrupt or produce constant acts of misconduct. It is only a way to show that departments need systems in place to assist them with correcting the issues. Most police departments would indicate that a small percentage of officers are responsible for the constant citizen complaints, use of force situations, pursuits, and other forms of misconduct that require a supervisor’s attention. A poll of approximately 14,000 law enforcement supervisors in the United States described a problem employee as negative, unwilling to accept responsibility for their actions, and manipulative with rules from administration (“5 ways,” 2017). Early warning systems can help supervisors identify these officers, intervene with them, and monitor their subsequent performance after consultation. Early warning systems are a vital tool to increase responsibilities of front line supervisors with leadership being the primary key founded on accountability, while maintaining adequate interpersonal communication and follow up both on an off duty. Law enforcement agencies should mandate the implementation of programs geared toward identifying and helping problem officers. In this research, the impact of early warning systems in relation to altering misconduct and alerting supervisors when issues arise to better serve the community and officer involved will be discussed. An effective early warning system can improve officer performance, reduce citizen complaints, increase accountability from supervisors, improve morale, and lower liability that departments face through litigation while highlighting training needs (Schultz, 2012).


Police Misconduct