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Human Resource Development in the Law Enforcement Field

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  1. Introduction
  2. Current efforts in training
    1. Optimal success with effective training
    2. Initial assessments
  3. Levels of career development
    1. Dissatisfaction with employment
    2. The employer/employee relationship
    3. Maintenance
    4. A leadership focused career developing program
  4. Hindrances in implementing career development programs
  5. Job analysis
  6. Problems that arise when employee needs are not met
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Law enforcement is a unique field which is highly dependent on human resource development (HRD) but is often times lacking in individual training and support. Regardless of the type of law enforcement officer (LEO), individuals in this field take numerous risks and may witness disturbing actions or scenes. As such, HRD must consider the emotional state of officers as much, if not more, than other elements such as training. Few law enforcement organizations provide full spectrum training which includes cognitive, classroom and affective (emotional) training.

[...] Therefore, law enforcement agencies can adapt many of the concepts used successfully in the private sector (p.1). Gibbons (1995) considers career development to have four levels; "establishment, advancement, maintenance, and withdrawal" (p.1). These four levels, when combined, enable law enforcement agencies to increase effectiveness while improving their employees' lives. Career development begins with establishing employment through recruitment. During the initial interview, the candidate is told of the organizations goals and mission. Problems arise when recruiters make unrealistic claims to the possibility of advancement in the organization when it is unknown whether such advancement is possible. [...]

[...] In the law enforcement field the employer/employee relationship tends to end once training is complete and an officer is established in the department. Most law enforcement agencies focus purely on training and ignore career development possibilities. When advancement opportunities within law enforcement organizations arise is usually "based more on appearances and luck than on merit and ability" (Gibbons, p 1995). Maintenance is the third level, or component, of career development; which focuses on maintaining a positive working relationship with employees. [...]

[...] The goal of the job design process is to formulate job-specific characteristics, goals and needs that can be addressed by a law enforcement employee. This system ensures that both the organization and the employee are having their needs met. The employee is able to see the full potential of his position, and what his or her expected duties are and career advances that may be achieved. A trust is made between organization and employee which motivates both parties to perform to their fullest potential. [...]

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