Recognizing Potential Law Enforcement Executives
Gaston, Arnett, Corrections Today
Jim Lundy, an internationally recognized expert in the identification, training and development of effective managers, has written a book titled Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way. Given the increasing complexity of our nation's correctional agencies, it has become clear that we may have to adopt the philosophy suggested by the title of Lundy's book if we expect our agencies to be viable in the new millennium. Viability begins with the quality of leadership, and if correctional agencies are to avoid going the way of the dinosaur, leadership must be the best possible. Law enforcement agencies are recognizing a long-acknowledged need in private industry: the fast-tracking of managerial candidates.
This article summarizes findings from an exploratory study that contribute to developing a fast-track management system for law enforcement. The research formulated and tested a law enforcement executive management (LEEM) profile. The profile is based on the personality characteristics, skills, knowledge and abilities of demonstrably effective executives within an agency. It provides a good starting point for looking at career development issues in law enforcement.
The criteria for selecting law enforcement executives today are not as sophisticated as they could be. Traditional selection from the ranks runs the risk of elevating individuals who are expert in the duties mastered through experience but who may be deficient due to a lack of exposure to the full range of expertise required by new executive functions. Selection from outside the department may introduce needed new talents and policies but could fail if the individual selected is unfamiliar with the traditions, policies or local culture of the new environment. Most law enforcement agencies do not have the luxury of granting potential managers educational leave or training sabbaticals. Agencies often select the people who are "in the right place at the right time" for high-risk jobs.
Research and field evidence indicate that effective executives learn to be effective through a maturation process where skills. knowledge and abilities are developed and enhanced. This …
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Publication information: Article title: Recognizing Potential Law Enforcement Executives. Contributors: Gaston, Arnett - Author. Magazine title: Corrections Today. Volume: 59. Issue: 3 Publication date: June 1997. Page number: 106+. © 2009 American Correctional Association, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1997 Gale Group.
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