Assessment Centers in the Law Enforcement Promotional Process




Moncrief, Thomas R

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Traditionally, police departments have relied on written tests and oral interviews in their promotional processes. While written testing is important, it usually only addresses the managerial side of the equation and misses the importance of measuring leadership within the candidates and their ability to execute tasks frequently performed by supervisory personnel. While oral interviews can sometimes quantify leadership capabilities of the candidates, they can be rife with bias and favoritism and usually do little to measure the ability of the candidates to perform the tasks of a supervisor. This deficiency hinders a department’s ability to select the best candidate to fill the role. It is paramount for police departments to select the best candidates for supervisory roles. Supervisors help to build or maintain the culture of the department and police administrators should not only search for good managerial supervisors, but should invest resources in selecting leaders and facilitators in those critical positions as well. A promotional process should include a multifaceted approach that includes a comprehensive assessment center. This process, in conjunction to a written test, will facilitate the department’s ability to advance the best possible candidate into the supervisory ranks or to further those supervisors to a higher rank.


Police-- personnel management, Assessment Center (personnel management procedure), Promotions