What kind of person is the chief?
The police chief should be a visible and accessible leader who thoughtfully strives to improve the effectiveness of police services. The leadership ability of the chief is the single most important ingredient in a good police agency. Police agencies, like all large bureaucracies, tend to resist change. Improvements can be made only if the person at the top is willing to challenge the status quo, take risks, be innovative, and build a coalition of support for change. Improvements are not automatic with a committed police chief, but they are impossible without one.
The chief’s roles are many and complex:
- Spokesperson on crime control and public safety;
- Advisor on personal security;
- Preserver of due process guarantees;
- Defender of minority rights;
- Protector of the weak, the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, and the injured;
- Manager of a complex bureaucracy; and
- Guardian of the rule of law and our democratic values.
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