Choosing the Best Candidate for Promotion in a Police Department




Lewis, Geoffrey

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


The profession of law enforcement has come under more and more scrutiny. Departments across the State of Texas have invested time and money into improving their hiring processes. However, the same cannot be said about the promotional processes within the same organizations. Promotions range from appointments, written test assessments, oral boards, and assessment centers. While it is impossible to say one system is better than the rest, law enforcement agencies must move toward methods that place an emphasis on selecting the most qualified candidate. Law enforcement agencies should implement a standard promotional style that would evaluate a candidate’s leadership ability. Law enforcement agencies should look at the varying methods of promotions and formulate a system that utilizes the strengths from each one. The position should be to promote the most qualified candidates with strong leadership abilities, improve retention of employees, and introduce a method viewed as fair. Some would argue written tests work, oral interviews are subjective and only gives a snapshot of the employee, and the cost and time to establish an assessment is too great for smaller agencies. However, the need for quality supervisors with knowledge and leadership abilities outweighs these arguments.



Police--Personnel Management, Career Development, Leadership, Promotion