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Put It in Writing: The Police Policy Manual

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 69 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2000 Pages: 1-5
Michael Carpenter M.A.
Date Published
October 2000
5 pages
This article discusses the importance of a police policy manual, as well as how to design, organize, and format such a manual.
A police policy and procedure manual instructs departmental employees and the community in the goals of the police department and how it plans to meet them. The policy manual can be used to inform departmental personnel of their responsibilities, to outline acceptable procedures to follow, to establish general performance standards, and to establish consistency among employees in performing their tasks. By effectively communicating expectations to each employee of the department, chief executive officers can establish accountability, responsibility and discipline through the appropriate use of the policy and procedure manual. Although agencies should tailor manuals to meet their needs, a few components are essential, including the agency's mission, goals, objectives, policies, procedures, and rules and regulations. The manual should serve as a working document for every officer under almost any situation. It should be small enough so that on-duty officers can carry it easily. Easily recognized dividers should clearly mark broad topic areas. A standardized format offers several advantages, such as ease of reading, filing, retrieving, and correcting. This article offers suggestions for formatting a policy manual.