Middle of the road, average officers and most of the squad could probably care less who the new Sarge is. They see you at roll call, a critical call or so and will deal with you over reports and time off. Just because they are quiet and have little or no needs, do not let them go off. Spend some time getting to know them, respect their experience and they are often the backbone of the squad. Note to self, get to know all of the squad. Know their strengths, contributions and chinks in the armor. Do not spend all of your time on the few that you worry about.
Avoid the “I syndrome” at all costs. Do not ever before any of team members remind them that YOU were selected for promotion for “I was the fill in the blank” such as (best, smartest, most educated, highest scorer, whatever). There is an old saying at a very large department that you had a ‘lucky Saturday’. This department gives promotional tests on Saturdays and you were lucky enough to pass the test that day. I do not care why or how you were promoted, you were lucky or what. Never ever, brag about your promotion in front of the staff, this is bad voodoo for you.
Finally, for the new Sarge, here are a few keys to your success as a leader. Never, ever criticize a staff member in public. You praise them in public and chastise in private. If you ever verbally dress-down a subordinate in front of others (especially their peers) they will never forgive you. Matters not what they did, it will be an unpardonable leadership sin. Counsel in private and when it is over, its over. Don’t pass them in the hall two days later and remind them of the ‘little talk’ within earshot of their squad members. Praise them in public and make sure it is for proper recognition of all involved. Don’t praise your favorite one and omit the other on the call who you have issues with. Did I mention a favorite? Your squad is similar to a family; maybe a dysfunctional one but they are a family. They will bicker with one another, but do wrong to one, then all show up to defend them. Bottom line is whether they are a royal pain or not, they are yours so respect them all. They are your new team, there is no “I” in team.
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.