Maintaining sustainable and effective police work is one of the guarantors of social security and stability. However, in the context of specific factors, for instance, the lack of funding, preserving the productive order of the management of police activities can be revised, and interventions may be inevitable. The proposed situation in which part of the sworn staff and civilian staff should be cut at the direction of the city consul requires an objective and unbiased assessment. Drawing up a rational plan to optimize the work of the police organization is a crucial procedure. Lowered funds, close interpersonal relationships, and several other factors are aspects that make it difficult to make an ethically sound decision. Retaining talented and responsible employees and promoting effective administration methods through adequate budgeting are objectively valuable management methods applied to maintain staff motivation and ensure public safety.
Plan to Prioritize Staffing
Based on the demands made by the city council, the reduction of the staff of the police organization in question is inevitable, and in new working conditions, prioritizing should be reasonable. Skogan (2018) gives an example of the crisis of the late 2000s and notes that civilian layoffs were the first initiative to deal with financial challenges. In the current situation, both sworn staff and civilian staff need to be cut, and particular attention should be paid to the activities of the latter group. The number of employees will be halved, but the performance of direct responsibilities should be at a high level. Therefore, initially, the control over the work of this group will be maintained thoroughly. Responsibilities will be allocated according to the qualifications and schedules of employees, and performance will be assessed as the central factor in determining which subordinates deserve to remain in the team. Productivity and success in the professional industry will count as the main selection criteria for professionals, and those employees who have received reprimands or work misconduct will have a higher risk of leaving the organization.
Prioritizing Job Functions
When prioritizing the job functions of the employees in the police organization in question, one should take into account the specifics of their duties. Maintaining public security and ensuring citizens’ safety are the key tasks. Therefore, the functions of the operational staff should be controlled and strengthened since the sworn staff will be reduced by five people. The civilian staff will be cut in half, and personal merit and experience will be used as criteria for choosing which employees will be laid off first of all. The principles of personnel management involve creating conditions for the stimulation and development of valuable knowledge and skills necessary to increase work productivity. Therefore, as Wukasch (2017) notes, supervisor performance assessments may be objective measures to identify the most useful employees. Thus, particular emphasis will be placed on the socially useful functions and professionalism of personnel as aspects influencing the choice of who will be left in the organization.
One of the main ethical issues involving the selection of the personnel that will be cut is the potential subjectivity of choice. Cordner (2017) also mentions ambivalence as one of the challenges encountered in organizational changes within law enforcement agencies. Internal influences are based on interpersonal relationships, including kinship with one of the civilian staff members. In terms of external influences, one may note the current requirements for police productivity, for instance, crime detection rates, fitness criteria, and other factors. To maintain fairness in the process of selecting employees to fire and assigning tasks to those who will remain, statistics will be used as justifications. Rather than judging subjectively, real performance parameters will be examined, and based on this information, the most valuable employees will continue working, despite personal relationships and affection.
Means to Maintain Fairness
Real performance metrics are valuable tools for ensuring equality in the decision to fire several employees. Otherwise, the risks of subjectivity and bias increase, which is unacceptable for a qualified and fair manager. Wolfe et al. (2017) draw attention to the importance of self-control as a quality that allows for making informed and reasonable decisions and abstracting from emotional choices. When distributing the work responsibilities of those employees who will remain working in the police organization, the principle of the importance of the activities performed will be applied. Operatives and other representatives of the law enforcement forces involved in active work with the population will be empowered to carry out their duties professionally. The civilian staff members, in turn, will have equal opportunities due to the small size of this group. These measures will contribute to avoiding the accusations of bias and, at the same time, help maintain productivity as a team.
Public Reaction to the Changes
Public reaction to staff cuts in the police organization will be negative rather than positive. People will probably conclude that the decrease in jobs in the security forces indicates a financially weak city’s background and, consequently, the inability of the authorities to provide adequate security for the population. Moreover, according to the research conducted by Piza and Chillar (2020), there is a direct and proven correlation between police layoffs and an increasing number of crimes. The public will be against these changes, and the senior police management will receive a series of complaints and petitions demanding that appropriate action be taken and jobs saved. This, in turn, can be an effective initiative to draw attention to the existing problem at the federal level and use all available resources to prevent layoffs in the police structure.
To maintain employee motivation, organizational communications, and ensure public safety, two management methods may be highlighted – retaining talented and responsible staff members and promoting effective administration methods through adequate budgeting. Both approaches are valuable from the perspectives of creating conditions for professional growth and performing immediate duties in a qualified manner (“Police administration,” n.d.). However, when analyzing these methods, one can draw attention to the fact that effective budgeting is more difficult to implement due to financial barriers that prevent preserving a specific number of jobs. Therefore, retaining talented employees who demonstrate high-performance indicators is an objective approach to increase staff motivation and prevent the leakage of valuable law enforcement officials to other organizations.
Retaining talented employees, along with promoting adequate budgeting solutions, are valuable approaches to keep the staff of the police organization in question motivated, although the first method is more appropriate. The selection of candidates for dismissal should be based on the objective indicators of the fulfillment of immediate responsibilities, including performance metrics and experience, but not on subjective value judgments. Public reaction to the upcoming changes will probably be negative, but civil initiatives and appeals to higher authorities can help draw attention to the problem of cuts in law enforcement agencies at the federal level.
Cordner, G. (2017). Police culture: Individual and organizational differences in police officer perspectives. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 40(1), 11-25.
Piza, E. L., & Chillar, V. F. (2020). The effect of police layoffs on crime: A natural experiment involving New Jersey’s two largest cities. Justice Evaluation Journal, 1-19.
Skogan, W. G. (2018). The commission and the police. Criminology & Public Policy, 17(2), 379-396.
Wolfe, S. E., Nix, J., & Campbell, B. A. (2017). Police managers’ self-control and support for organizational justice. Law and Human Behavior, 42(1), 71-82.
Wukasch, B. (2017). Financial and pre-retirement planning for law enforcement officers. Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.