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How to Run an Assessment Center

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 29 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2005 Pages: 18,20,22,24,26
Michael McLaurin
Date Published
March 2005
5 pages
This article describes the planning and implementation of an effective assessment center in the evaluation of prospective employees for law enforcement agencies.
Utilizing a structured process which incorporates the opinions of many individuals within and outside a department to evaluate prospective employees assists law enforcement agencies in making arbitrary or unfair decisions. This article provides a layman’s nuts and bolts approach on how to plan and conduct this structured process, an assessment center. When properly planned and implemented, an assessment center will be viewed as a fair and objective process for making sure the best officer is promoted. Assessment centers can assist in determining who should be hired for top-ranking positions, as a promotional process, and as a way to identify strengths and weaknesses of an agency and its employees. The article lays out the steps involved in the planning and implementation of an assessment center which include: (1) understanding what an assessment center is and why an agency will be utilizing a center; (2) conduct a job analysis; (3) identify the behaviors essential for the position; (4) develop exercises to be used and write the scenarios that are realistic, job related, and require the demonstration of the behaviors selected for the particular exercise; (5) find assessors to conduct exercises; (6) train assessors; (7) have assessors complete individual score sheet, rating each candidate; (8) making sure scoring sheets are turned in to assessment center manager; (9) have scores tallied and debriefing held; and (10) provide a written report describing the candidate’s performance.