Case Study Scenarios

Scenario 1

You are the new chief of the Greenfield Police Department. After 30 years of iron-fisted control, Chief Slaughter has retired. Slaughter believed in the military model of police management and a traditional crime-fighting policing strategy.

He was fully entrenched in the war on crime and ran his department like an army unit. His book of rules and regulations was a foot thick, and he demanded absolute compliance.

Decisions were made in the chief’s office and passed down to the officers through layers of captains, lieutenants and sergeants. At Chief Slaughter’s retirement ceremony, the mayor slaps you on the back and says, “You’ve got some big shoes to fill, son. That guy knew how to fight crime, and his officers never stepped out of line. Our crime rate was below the national average every year he was here.”

The City Council presents Slaughter the Meritorious Service Award for 30 years of crime fighting.As a student of police history you realize that most police departments battle complex social problems and seldom march off to war. You know that crime rates are minimally influenced by crime fighting and are a poor indication of policing success.

You also know that traditional organizational structures and policing strategies are slow to change and often are out of sync with one another. Most of your questions to the captains about department operations have generated the same response: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?”You decide to visit with members of the community.

A homeowner tells you that Chief Slaughter’s officers do a great job of patrolling her neighborhood, but she’s worried about the future impact of the deteriorating apartment complex across the street. She realizes it’s not a police problem. The manager of a senior citizens’ residence tells you that there hasn’t been a crime reported in their neighborhood in over a year, but the residents are afraid to go out at night. He thinks it’s the rumors that spread from crime reports on the television news.

The business owners in the shopping center complain that customers are being driven away by kids skateboarding in the parking lot. They understand that the police have more urgent crime problems to fight. The high school principal praises the police department’s stringent traffic enforcement before and after school.

He wishes he could resolve the growing truancy problem as efficiently as the police handle traffic. None of the people you talk to is personally acquainted with a Greenfield police officer. It appears the Greenfield Police Department is trapped in the traditional mode of policing. They rely on preventive patrolling and rapid response as their primary policing strategies and seldom interact with the community. You review their mission statement and find it emphasizes the professional model of crime fighting.Questions (Each question is worth 8-points)

1. What challenges are facing you as the new chief?

2. What type of data might be collected to address the identified problems?

3. What changes would you introduce in policing strategies?

4. What changes would you make in the organizational structure to enable the newStrategy?

5. Identify some quality-of-life issues that are not being addressed by the crime-fighting strategy of Chief Slaughter.

Scenario 2

Chief Slaughter loses his temper at a contentious labor meeting with the patrol officers’ union. As Slaughter cools off in his office, he realizes some of his comments were out of line.

He’s actually a good-hearted guy who backs his cops. Chief Slaughter recently attended a conference where a vender was selling hats with special reflective pink brims. The vender quoted impressive statistics concerning the added safety the hats provide to officers. Chief Slaughter knows he’s going to have to squeeze his tight budget to buy the hats, but it’s his way of demonstrating his concern for his officers and their safety. After his outburst at the labor meeting, he thinks this will be a good time to show them he cares.

Chief Slaughter dictates a memo and has his secretary post it in the glass case outside the roll call room. He leaves for the weekend.“New hats with reflective pink safety brims will be distributed to the entire department next week. The hats will be worn by all officers. By order of Chief Slaughter.”

On Monday morning Chief Slaughter was greeted by disgruntled cops and a grievance.Questions (Each question is worth 8-points)1. Is there a problem in the communication process between Chief Slaughter and his Officers? 2. Do you think Chief Slaughter used the most effective channel of communications for his message?

Scenario 3

After several months on the job as the Greenfield police chief, you observe a lack of motivation and low morale among a core group of officers. They are resistant to the concept of community policing and just want to be left alone to do “real” police work— arresting crooks.

During the previous administration, officers received monthly awards for making the most arrests and writing the most traffic citations.

One of your captains tells you the disgruntled officers are influential in the department’s informal hierarchy. Some are veterans who have taken promotional exams but were never selected.

Others never even took the exams. The captain says they are skilled officers who could have been promoted if they had worked harder and better prepared themselves. He thinks their lack of success has left them bitter.

The captain suggests you issue a directive ordering the entire department to implement one community policing project each month. Those who do not comply will be progressively disciplined.

He thinks the threat of discipline will motivate the disgruntled officers to accept community policing.

Questions 1. As the Greenfield Police Department chief, what changes would you implement to improve morale and increase motivation among officers not pursuing supervisory positions?

2. Is resistance to change a sign of low morale and lack of motivation? Explain. 3. What effect will your captain’s suggested directive have on the department?

Scenario 4

Lieutenant Smith is meeting with Detective Smug to discuss several complaints concerning Smug’s rude behavior toward citizens and other detectives. Smug has been with the department for 15 years and a detective for 10 years. He has a good service During the past several months, he has offended citizens with his obstinate attitude and curt remarks.

A fellow detective has privately told Lieutenant Smith that Smug is quick to anger and often condescending. Smug’s behavior seems out of character for him. Before the meeting, Lieutenant Smith learned that Detective Smug’s wife left him six months ago for an officer in a neighboring department. Smug has not shared this with other officers, but the rumors spread quickly. Smug was also recently passed over for detective sergeant.

A younger female detective with less experience was promoted.Lieutenant Smith begins the meeting by telling Detective Smug about the series ofcomplaints. He asks Smug if he is aware of the behavior and what may be causing it. Detective Smug is defensive and denies being rude to anyone. He says if there is a problem, it’s the new chief and all the changes he’s throwing at people.

Smug says he’s heard rumors that the detectives are going to rotate shifts every month. Lieutenant Smith observes that Detective Smug seems withdrawn and tired. He’s usually a snappy dresser, but now he’s a bit disheveled. His attendance record shows an increased use of sick time.Questions (Each question is worth 8-points)

1.As a skilled manager, Lieutenant Smith should be cognizant of potential signs of stress. What indicators are apparent in Detective Smug?

2. Identify three obvious sources of stress in Detective Smug’s life.

3. If Lieutenant Smith suspects that stress is the root cause of Detective Smug’s problem behavior, should he excuse it?

4. How can Lieutenant Smith and the department help Detective Smug deal with his stress?

5. Police officers face a variety of job-related stressors. Discuss one that is unique to Detective Smug’s job.

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