Churn at the top

Some 40 major U.S. cities have changed police chiefs in the last 18 months, according to this article. Increased turnover at the top is not surprising given recent events, and it’s clearly a 2-edged sword. As one observer put it, old school chiefs are “making a wise decision by leaving the profession,” and their departure opens the door for reforming and reimagining policing. However, it’s also true that it takes time and effort to implement change, especially culture change. Frequent turnover of chiefs can interrupt the change process, resulting in stops and starts in different directions and little real progress. Another problem is that many of the chiefs who have recently departed were progressive, not old school, but were caught up in situations where satisfying the community, political leaders, and members of the police department — the proverbial 3-legged stool — was simply impossible. 

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One Response to “Churn at the top”

  1. Jim Isenberg Says:

    Hi Gary Hope you’re well. Not sure of your present location, but I thought you might be in Baltimore at the BPD Training Center. If so, please say hello to Martin Bartness as I remember him from my Police Corps days. Though I’ve retired, I’m still involved with the YPI program which continues to be a very good “trust building” program for police and youth. I’ve also started a Grandpas United, mentoring program for Grandpas and youth in NY. As I read this article, I think about my own book on police leadership. It might be timely to consider another book/article about Police Leadership. It would be interesting to interview another 20 police chiefs about their leadership experience. I welcome your thoughts about this project.

    Otherwise, best wishes to you, Jim

    Dr Jim Isenberg 917 940 8152

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