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September 1990                                                    

                EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS                         


                John L. Pape, Chief of Police
              Weslaco, Texas, Police Department 
     Police administrators of small law enforcement agencies face 
limited financial resources.  An area often overlooked as having 
can be fiscally devastating.  One option is for administrators to 
consider using a well-structured employee development program to 
manage employee turnover effectively.                           

THE PROBLEM                                                      

     When a law enforcement agency experiences high employee 
turnover, it must then bear the expense of recruiting, testing, 
easily lead to acute problems, such as manpower shortages, which 
usually must be compensated for with overtime expense.  The 
and a loss of overall effectiveness and safety.  As a result, the 
likely to make serious mistakes due to fatigue.                   

     Unfortunately, police administrators have often taken the 
And, many administrators of smaller agencies believe that they 
cannot compete with larger ones that are able to offer better pay 
These administrators traditionally accept the fact that their 
most talented officers will be drawn to larger agencies after a 
year or two.  This, in turn, causes them to possibly reject 
capable applicants because of their anticipated short tenure with 
the agency.                                                       

     In accepting this role as a stepping stone to larger 
Additionally, the level of service can suffer due to the lack of 
experienced officers, leading to possible problems in public 

     The traditional solution to this problem is to increase pay 
and benefits for officers to compete with larger departments. 
Unfortunately, most smaller communities do not have the necessary 
financial resources.  In addition, even with reasonably 
competitive pay and benefits, an officer who is not allowed to 
experience personal and professional growth may begin to look  
for an agency with greater opportunities.                        

THE APPROACH                                                      

     What motivates employees to do their jobs to the best of 
their abilities, or in this case, to remain with a particular  
be plotted on a hierarchy that begins with the most basic needs 
and progresses to the most complex.  This process toward 

     *  Physiological needs--need for survival, food, shelter;
     *  Safety needs--need for security and absence of threat;

     *  Affiliation needs--need for close, affectionate

     *  Achievement and esteem--need to achieve goals and 
        self-respect; and,                                                

     *  Self-actualization--need to develop skills and abilities
        to the maximum. (1)

     In simplest terms, this means reaching one's greatest 
terms of providing sufficient pay and benefits to attract and 
and motivation do not stop there.                                 

     Douglas McGregor evaluated Maslow's hierarchy of needs in 
terms of employment and introduced the relationship between needs 
and work to modern management. According to McGregor, Maslow's 
concepts relate to work as follows:                               

     *  Physiological--employee needs to perform the job to
        retain the position and receive pay;

     *  Safety--employee needs and desires job security;             

     *  Affiliation--employee needs to achieve acceptance within
        a work group.  This relates to productivity in that an
        employee's output will generally conform to the group's
        performance standard as a means of gaining acceptance;

     *  Achievement/Esteem--employee seeks opportunities to
        achieve, be recognized and to advance; and,

     *  Self-actualization--employee is given the opportunity to 
        meet challenges that are personally meaningful. (2)                  

     While the traditional incentives of money and benefits may 
These upper levels are the levels that the most highly motivated 
employees are attempting to achieve, and they are also the levels 
least likely to be satisfied in agencies with no employee 

THE SOLUTION                                                      

     For smaller agencies the key to resolving excessive
employee turnover may be to offer a structured employee
quality of service.

     Many police departments tend to view motivation simply in 
terms of providing sufficient pay and benefits to attract and 
lower-ranking police officer, they do not promote superior 
of higher-ranking officers.                                       

     Furthermore, most people need to be recognized for their 
efforts and want to do a good job because it helps to satisfy 
their need to feel worthwhile.  However, when obstacles are 
the key is to structure an educational development program to 
attract highly motivated applicants and to help employees fulfill 
needs traditionally overlooked.  And, while employees may 
eventually move into other agencies, the program helps to ensure 
that during their tenure, officers will be more motivated and 

     The employee development program can be as extensive as the 
administrator wishes, but it must incorporate at least the 
following points:                                                 

     *  Implementation of high professional standards                

     *  A strong reward/reinforcement plan                           

     *  An educational incentive plan, and                           

     *  A professional development plan.                    

High Professional Standards                                       

     High professional standards are vital to an employee 
attract the more highly qualified and more motivated individual. 
Agencies must reflect a sufficient degree of professionalism for 
employees to take pride in their jobs. This process begins with a 
dentifying the most qualified applicants.

     Further, a professional approach to policing includes the 
vital, as is a comprehensive and fair disciplinary system. 
Training and management procedures must also adhere to the 

Reward/Reinforcement System                                       

     The second point of the employee development program 
nvolves a strong reward/reinforcement system. Too often,
management only doles out disciplinary action and neglects to 

     This recognition program can be as simple or as elaborate as 
the department administrator wishes.  For example, commendable 
acts of a lesser nature can be acknowledged through letters of 
commendation.  For more noteworthy acts, departmental 
certificates of commendation can be issued.  For the most 
noteworthy acts, police recognition medals or ribbons can be 
awarded to deserving personnel.  Criteria for various police 
awards can be established on a departmental basis.  Additionally, 
the local media should be notified and the officer publicly 

Educational Incentive Plan                                        

     The third, and most important, facet of an employee
making that officer a more productive and effective member of
the department.  It also naturally attracts applicants who want
to pursue higher education.  Obviously, the officer who desires
to any department.  And, by encouraging educational development,
an agency can ensure the officer's retention at least until
completion of college. Normally, it will take an officer 5 to 8
years to complete a baccalaureate degree program, depending on
the course load the officer carries.

     An educational incentive plan could also include a pay
ncentive pay scale can be adjusted to the needs of the
ndividual department.  And, to ensure that the semester hours
only those hours that meet a set quality point average.
Compared to across-the-board pay raises, an incentive plan can
be substantially less expensive.

     Under the tuition reimbursement portion of the plan, 
officers enroll in the course(s) at an accredited institution at 
their own expense.  After successfully completing the course(s), 
officers who verify completion would be appropriately reimbursed.  
As with the incentive pay scale, an agency may wish to reimburse 
only those course(s) completed with a grade of ``C'' or better. 
Also, limiting the number of reimbursable hours per semester 

     Work schedules should be structured to allow employees to 
attend classes.  This can be accomplished by rotating shifts in 
conjunction with local university semesters. While an occasional 
conflict may arise, they can usually be easily resolved. 
An educational incentive plan restructures the pay scale and 
By implementing such a plan, an agency benefits from better 
educated, highly motivated, and personally fulfilled employees.   

     For those employees seeking personal fulfillment from 
employees are not offered sufficient opportunities for
assignments, patrol enhancement techniques, and training
opportunities can be initiated. The number of officers involved
at a given time, and the frequency of assignment rotation, can
be tailored to a particular department's needs.

     Rotating assignments can be as simple as assigning a patrol 
officer to work in another assignment for a temporary period of 
time.  After completing the temporary duty, the patrol officer 
temporary assignments also allow administrators to evaluate the 
employee's performance in the temporary position for possible 
later consideration for permanent assignments.                    

     Patrol enhancement is another method that can stimulate and 
allowing an officer to answer the initial call, conduct the 
nvestigation, file the charges, obtain the arrest warrant, and
arrest the perpetrator without the assistance of another officer. 
as departments grow, they tend to become more specialized.  This 
lets officers know that they are vital players in the 
any agency, the key to patrol enhancement is for the 
administrator to view patrol officers as vital resources.         

     A final step in an agency's professional development
Many times, training opportunities end with the basic academy or
the fulfillment of State-mandated minimums. Even so, an agency
can offer a variety of opportunities for professional training.
t can use the resources of regional police academies, technical
training centers, and even larger neighboring police
the administrator should allow as many officers as possible to
training on their own time is for an agency to consider paying
for meals and providing transportation.  What is important is
that officers not be discouraged from developing themselves

THE MERCEDES POLICE EXPERIENCE                                    

     In 1986, an employee development program was a major factor 
n the departmental reorganization of the Mercedes, Texas, Police
Department.  The department is comprised of 25 officers serving a 
municipality of approximately 14,000 persons.                     

     The first step of the reorganization was to establish high 
an immediate marked improvement, and public confidence increased.  

     Patrol enhancement in the form of limited follow-up
Officers were extremely receptive to these duties and soon began
to suggest that more assignments be added to the patrol
enhancement program.  The public was also quick to note the
officers' increased involvement.

     The department then initiated a policy requiring a minimum 
of 40 hours inservice training per year per officer. In 
addition, a wide variety of training was offered to police 
each officer had achieved an average of 96 hours of training. By 
the end of 1987, this average increased to 109 hours of training 

     Prior to implementing the educational incentive plan, only 
two officers had any college-level education, only one had an 
associate's degree in law enforcement from a community college, 
and one officer was attending college.  Within the first year of  
the program, 6 officers earned college credits, and 10 were 
actively enrolled in college courses.  In addition, recruiting 
efforts attracted three officers with an average of 2 years' 
college experience, all of whom indicated that they were 
attracted to the department because it would allow them to 
continue their education.                                         

     Subsequent recruiting efforts also resulted in applicants 
candidates for employment.  In addition, prior to the 
mplementation of the employee development program, the agency's
turnover rate was 38 percent.  In the 24-month period following 
the full implementation of the employee development program, the 
turnover rate decreased to 7 percent. (3)  This reduction in the 
turnover rate resulted in an estimated budgetary savings of at 
least $53,000.                                            


     A properly structured and managed employee development
to appeal to highly motivated individuals, providing them with
opportunities to satisfy their needs for esteem and
contribute to the overall mission of the organization, a police
This job satisfaction will translate into improved morale,
the community.  This program will also significantly reduce
employee turnover within the smaller agency which, in turn,

     Departments should realize that the initial expense of 
mplementing an employee development program is minimal when
compared to the benefits it can offer to both the law enforcement 
agency and the officer.  But, most importantly, as a result of 
the program, employees experience professional growth and 

     (1)  Abraham H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality (New York:  
Harper and Row Company, 1954).                                    

     (2)  Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise (New York:  
Viking Press, Inc., 1971).                                        

     (3)  An annual turnover rate of 5 to 15 percent is generally 
considered to be within the acceptable range for a fully 
Administration (New York:  McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1977).