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Police Staff Research - Changing Roles and Requirements

NCJ Number
Police Studies Volume: 3 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1980) Pages: 47-53
J W Stevens
Date Published
7 pages
This article on staff support for police managers discusses the benefits of staff services, its proper use by managers, characteristics of good staff workers, and methods of combating certain staff problems and deficiencies.
Law enforcement managers today depend on extensive support from staff in organizational and program decisionmaking and long-term planning; they are also making increasing use of staff research that provides the basis for organizational or executive decisions. Staff workers audit expenditures, investigate police behavior to determine service quality, develop improvements for agency computers or traffic patrol, and perform other tasks. Police managers and supervisors and political officials, the chief users of staff support, depend on such services because they themselves lack the professional contacts, time, and expertise to complete all tasks. Thus, the staff user's position, effectiveness, and efficiency depend on the quality of staff work. Staff members, however, work within certain constraints and limits and may become confused about setting priorities due to conflicting demands and needs. Nevertheless, staff work improves as the work environment and opportunities to perform improve. Suggestions for effective staff use include general knowledge of police department organization, problems, and projects; and good communication skills; knowledge of constraints affecting the staff; and proper recognition of good staff work. Staff members should be receptive to requests for service, inquisitive about their projects, diligent and careful, fully informed on their subjects, and able to work independently. Common staff deficiencies include inadequate understanding of assignments, poor planning, and inadequate research preceding a task. Thirteen notes are included.