The Office of Justice Programs' National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Author: The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

By Becky Lewis TechBeat Magazine

Crime prevention. Training. Strategic planning. Community service. Often, especially in smaller law enforcement agencies, the department is so busy performing these tasks there isn’t time to stop and assess how well it’s doing them.

A new publication available through the Justice Technology Information Center (JTIC), How to Assess and Improve Operations of Small Law Enforcement Agencies, offers guidance on how to break down and manage that evaluation process. JTIC is a component of the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) System, a program of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

Written by Paul Schultz, who has more than 44 years of law enforcement experience (22 as a chief), the guide outlines the overall evaluation process and offers helpful “Management Tips,” such as, “It is a very effective idea to review at staff meetings events involving other agencies that result in either liability exposure, lawsuits or settlements” and “When comparing management failures, always try to compare your agency with an agency of the same approximate size.”

The 25-page volume offers guidance to chiefs and administrators on both assessing the agency as a whole and in specific areas to include day-to-day operations, community policing, crime prevention and crime analysis, training, strategic planning and feedback.

Schultz originally presented this material at the 2016 International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference, and expanded the material into the guidebook at the request of NIJ, which funded the project. (Opinions expressed in the guide are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice, of which NIJ is a part.)

“The guide provides a framework of the areas that an agency needs to review and the indicators to look for that might point out a problem. It also offers practical tips on how to improve each functional area,” Schultz says.

“Leading small law enforcement agencies is challenging, and finding the time and resources needed to assess and improve operations can be difficult, but small agencies in particular need to look for ways to maximize resources and improve efficiency,” Schultz says. “This guide is intended to provide a roadmap that will help.”

Download How to Assess and Improve Operations of Small Law Enforcement Agencies from JUSTNET, the website of the NLECTC System, here.

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