Transforming the Culture of Policing in Albuquerque, NM PD - Culture Essay Example




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Transforming the Culture of Policing in Albuquerque, NM PD

Policing, in terms of culture, constitutes the viewpoints of law enforcement agencies when it comes to policing fighting crime and upholding peace and order in society by maintaining the authority of the law. In addition, the culture of policing may be attributed to the concepts and dimensions of organizational culture. Organizational culture considers the structure of the organization, leadership and management, policies and practices, and such concerns. (Connolly, 2008) The law enforcement institution is an organization which builds on its human capital – the law enforcement officers. Members of the law enforcement institution have varying views and perceptions about policing carried out in the field of industry. These views and perceptions come together in order to form organizational culture, or in law enforcement, the culture of policing. (Aragon, 1993) The culture of policing influences styles in enforcing the law, activities and practices, law enforcement policies and operational strategies, techniques, methods, approaches, and such. (Harrison, 1998)

The culture of policing does not only influence individual members within the law enforcement institution. The kind of culture practiced by law enforcement officers greatly affects the institution’s efficiency and productivity in carrying out its roles and purposes. In other words, deviant culture would result to objectionable, decadent, and inefficient law enforcement practices and operations, while legal and morally acceptable culture results to agreeable, upright and principled, and efficient rehearsal of law enforcement roles and responsibilities. The implication of this thought about the impact of the culture of policing to law enforcement is that institutions should focus their time and attention to changing the culture of the organization to strengthen the foundation of law enforcement and develop principles, standards or guidelines, or practices that are highly efficient and unassailable. (Bodor, Thompson, & Demercivi, 2004) This has been one of the major issues focused upon by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) based on a research study in collaboration with the University of Mexico (UM) with regards to the need of organizational change. (Wood & Davis, 2002)

The research study conducted by the APD and researchers from the UM discovered the importance of undergoing organizational change in terms of culture, and perhaps even structure in the process, in order to transform policing in Albuquerque into stronger, highly efficient, and highly productive organization. The research provided some recommendations in order to accomplish this particular purpose due to APD’s lack in progress following four years of undergoing the process of organizational change. Among the recommendations include improving decision-making process, developing leadership and management within the institution, implementing training opportunities for learning and knowledge acquisition processes, fostering collaboration with the community in policing practices, considering the diverse culture within the institution, and reorientation to develop high quality performance from APD’s members. (Wood & Davis, 2002)

Hypothetically speaking, if I am the chief of APD, I would address all these recommendations one by one in order to cultivate agreeable organizational change. First and foremost, the leaders, supervisors, or managers should be informed and mobilized about the planned organizational change. As leaders of the institution, they are responsible for guiding the process of changing the organization and ensuring that members of the institution will be able to adjust to these changes. Moreover, leaders, supervisors, or managers should be able to motivate and influence members of APD to adapt to changes that will take place within the organization. Strengthening leadership is what experts call as transformational leadership which is highly instrumental during changes or transformations within the organization. (Dobby, Anscombe, & Tuffin, 2004) This purpose might be realized by ensuring that leaders, supervisors, or managers are highly knowledgeable, skilled, and competent in their line of work through frequent evaluation, assessment, and high-level training and mentorship processes. Moreover, they should be well-informed about organizational change processes and practices.

The next step is formulating a plan on how organizational change will be implemented. One recommendation from the research is to consolidate subcultures within the organization. This should be part of the planning process. Changing the organization is best facilitated when the members of the institution are open to their reintegration to organizational changes, not just as individual members of APD, but as a team or group despite cultural differences. It is undeniable that a unified police force is a highly efficient institution. (Unifying the Police Forces, 1994) The plan should incorporate activities or programs that will help APD to make diverse cultures within the organization cohesive in order to ensure the realization of the organization’s missions and objectives. Examples of activities or programs include educational programs that allow members of APD to learn and understand diverse cultures and subcultures for acceptance and adaptation eliminating conflict brought about by cultural differences. This not only contributes to APD as a cohesive police force but also to cultural awareness in terms of dealing with other people outside the institution. (Strategy: Raising Cultural Awareness, 2008)

Two other recommendations are highly related to the previously mentioned approach to implementing organizational change. The aforementioned educational program for learning and understanding diverse cultures and subcultures is highly related to the establishment of training programs and opportunities of learning and knowledge acquisition opportunities and the improvement of decision-making processes within APD. The importance of establishing appropriate and efficient training programs, reorienting members of APD, learner and knowledge acquisition opportunities, and developing sound decision-making is comprehensible. Training programs enhance the skills and capabilities of law enforcement officers to become efficient in their line of work. This also contributes to reorienting low performance members of APD to become more productive and active in accomplishing their tasks and responsibilities. Perhaps motivation and incentive programs, or training and mentoring will help during reorientation.

Learning and knowledge acquisition opportunities do not simply provide them with information, but instrumental facts or data that will help them become aware of current trends, approaches, strategies, and such that improves policing as an industry. An example of this would be learning the value of multicultural awareness in dealing with offenders, or understanding ethical practices in policing. (Shanahan, 2000) Consequently, learning and knowledge acquisition is the major foundation of informed decision-making processes. Making decisions is highly important, most especially for law enforcement officers and the issue of police discretion. Police discretion requires sound judgments which are independent of protocol or laws being enforced in some situations or instances that are sensitive, such as handling juvenile offenders. (Kleinig, 1996)

Strengthening collaboration between the police force and the community is another strategy in order to create a desirable culture within the organization. This requires acceptance from the police force and full cooperation of the community in carrying out the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement. (Duffee, et. al., 2006) A specific approach to realize this purpose is to establish community policing in Albuquerque. Community policing enhances work productivity and output by harnessing the capabilities of the community to assist the APD.

The general and specific strategies and techniques aforementioned shall be implemented in APD in order to initiate the process of transforming the organization. Consequently, these actions that were built on the recommendations based on the research study conducted by APD and UM will also contribute to the management of change in order to ensure that all members of the organization are not only prepared for changes, but are also open to adapting the new dimensions of APD as a police force that is currently focusing on improving the system for enhanced public service and desirable work outputs that are indicators of organizational success.











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