Some of the most-often given pieces of advice to leaders about being successful is to surround themselves with good people. I like this advice, believing that it has both merit and truth, but in terms of the policing profession, we have to realize that due to the rules and procedures of the civil service process, it is not always possible for a police leader to select their subordinate leaders. I have come to see that the better and far more operative advice for police leaders is to make sure that the process used to create a promotional list is designed to identify good people for you. It can be argued that it has always been the long-standing goal of promotional processes to meet this need while ensuring that the process is also fair, equitable, and non-discriminatory for all those participating in it. Although there are many companies that can provide promotional services to police agencies, the one concern that comes to mind is the strength of the correlation that these external processes have to the agency’s actual leadership philosophy, practices, and training. In many cases, the correlation that exists between the process and the agency’s practices is more generic than specific in nature. This generic correlation is due to these processes being based on what can be considered universal practices for the position being tested. Yes, there are similarities between the job performed by a Boston Police Department sergeant and those same duties performed by a Phoenix Police Department sergeant.
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