Positive Disciplinary Practices for Law Enforcement Agencies




Boles, Bennie

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



Law enforcement agencies typically use traditional progressive disciplinary practices policies. This traditional approach generally results in punitive disciplinary actions such as reprimands, days off without pay and ultimately termination of the employee (Shane, 2012). The paper explores the negative impact traditional progressive discipline has on moral and the strain it places on human resources. Positive disciplinary practices will provide training and education, to correct the officer’s unwanted behavior, saving many jobs and reducing the financial strain of replacing the lost employee. Positive disciplinary practices are generally able to rehabilitate an employee as opposed to punishing an employee (Grote, 2006). Gaining commitment over compliance is worth the risk an organization would take with such a policy. Rehabilitation will make room for policy review and the exposure of training issues. The rehabilitation process would likely result in changes in policies to help other employees avoid the same pitfalls, ultimately adding another avenue for quality control. It is recommended departments gather stakeholders and review existing disciplinary policies. The review of policy would likely benefit all public service employees as the changes are made to the disciplinary procedures. Costs to change disciplinary practices are mitigated by the retention of well-trained motivated employees. When it is all said and done, agencies should adopt positive disciplinary practices to change unwanted employee behavior. This practice is more than saving human capital and far more than just numbers. It is saving the well-being of the individual’s family and self-worth, while benefiting the department, governing body and the citizens they serve.


Police administration, Labor discipline, Police misconduct