Personal Preference or Policy Decisions

Your skills and knowledge may have gotten you to the rank of sergeant, but you must be careful not to hold that over others; especially those you now are responsible for leading.

How you achieve your staff’s commitment to better performance is a study in positive reinforcement. My best recommendation is to recall the following. Praise in public and chastise in private. Praise in solitude is worthless, before your peers it is priceless. One note, don’t over do it for it will lose its purpose. Sooner of later you will be praising for expected behavior rather than exemplary acts. Never, ever chastise (chew out) in public, the only exception I can offer is if they are in the performance of an unsafe act or reckless tactics; your verbal direction is for their and others safety. If you need to give verbal direction or counseling, do so in private. This is a personnel and personal matter. Each of us has been chewed out before our peers and we forgot what is was really about and focused on the action of the supervisor more so than our own. Treat every interaction as a learning experience and you will go far. The next step is lieutenant!


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About The Author:

William L. "Bill" Harvey is a native Virginian. He served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He has a BA in criminology from St. Leo University and is a graduate of the Southern Police Institute of the University of Louisville (103rd AOC). Harvey served for over 23 years with the Savannah (GA) Police Department. He served in field operations, investigations and support services, and completed his career there as the director of training. He has published several articles in professional periodicals and has lectured nationwide. He is serving as a chief of police in central Pennsylvania area; a duty he’s performed for the past nine years. He is on the advisory board of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association and other professional associations.

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