Friday, October 18, 2013

How Police Leaders Can Use Personnel to Overcome Budget Cuts and Limited Resources

Edward Brown, M.S.

      Budget cuts and employee furloughs create havoc on employee morale and productivity within police departments.  When quality of life issues affect employee motivation, police leaders have to discover innovative ways to do more with less.  In other words, use strategies that don’t have budgetary restraints.  Research suggests that money becomes a predominant desire for employees when recognition, incentives, and other rewards are not in place.  Employees will generally accept less pay doing a job they enjoy rather than making more money doing a job they dislike.  Consequently, to offset financial restraints, police leaders should align personnel assignments with the personality and self-interest of employees.  This simply can be done by reviewing the personality profiles compiled by the police psychologist during hiring. 

Hogan (2000) identified four (4) types of people (Analyticals, Directors, Socializers, and  Amiable)

  • Analyticals tend to be driven by logic and mental acuity. They respond to stimuli that answer “why” and “how” questions. If you want to attract and persuade these types of individuals, it is important to appeal to their rationale and logicality with facts, figures, and proof. They are nonassertive and internally driven to work problems out within themselves as introverts. Within a police department, Analyticals would be suited in assignments where research, analysis and crime patterns are needed. They would need very little supervision and work performance could be measured easily.

  • Directors are logical also, but are more assertive and driven towards results and accomplishments at all costs. On the surface, they may appear to mimic some traits of Analyticals, but they are much more extroverted and goal or mission oriented. If you want to attract and persuade Directors, give them bottom line information and keep it short, hitting only the key points. They are externally drawn to see the outcome of specific actions.  Many police chiefs and supervisors fall under the Director’s banner. Directors would thrive on special assignments where there is autonomy and mission orientation.

  • Socializers are more emotionally and “Big Picture” thinkers. If you want to attract and persuade these individuals, talk passionately about the overarching mission of your department and tell them how they fit into it. As long as they see themselves as becoming heroes, they are interested in participating in the process, because they are assertive and are big on attention. Show enthusiasm and be light on details. Socializers are not like Analyticals requiring a great deal of facts and details. As public speakers, Socializers are effective in assignments where you need buy-in for police initiatives. Socializers would be great in neighborhood planning units (NPUs) where long-term goals of the community are discussed.

  • Finally, Amiables are emotional and introverted based on their need for relationships. If you want to attract and persuade Amiables, it is important to talk about the importance of collaborations and team building. These individuals would be great at police community and outreach programs. They enjoy the status quo and are less inclined to rock the boat as long as their emotional needs are met.   Amiables could be your best evangelists and cheerleaders within your department as long as there are no dramatic changes to what they have bought into operationally. Amiables embody community-oriented policing. Simply give them the creative freedom to connect deeply with the community and they will flourish. 

      Quite often, when police leaders are addressing personnel collectively, the four types of personalities will be in attendance.  Police leaders' best bet is to speak in ways that cross all sectors. Provide facts, figures, and proof to Analyticals.  Give specific information to Directors that relates to accomplishing a mission. Describe passionately the department’s objectives to Socializers in ways that he or she can shine. In addition, stress the importance of stability and camaraderie when addressing Amiables.  By understanding the importance of persuading individuals based on their personality make-up and self-interest, Police leaders can increase employee productivity despite the economic landscape from budget cuts.

Excerpt from The A-Team: How to Be a Top Police Department in Recruiting, Training & Retaining Employees, By Edward Brown, M.S.


Hogan, K. (2000). The psychology of persuasion: How to persuade others to your way of thinking. Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.

About the Author

Edward Brown, M.S., is a researcher and lead instructor for Core Edge Police Professional Development.  Ed is a former Atlanta police officer and has trained supervisors within the Atlanta Police Department as well as police officers throughout the state of Georgia and abroad.

He has advanced legal training from the University of Dayton School of Law and a master’s degree from Mercer University in Public Safety Leadership.

Ed is the author of nine books including: A Badge Without Blemish: Avoiding Police Corruption and The Secrets to Communicating Effectively with Police Officers.

Review Book: Top Cop

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