When somebody is given a promotion big or small it must be realized that that individual is being given a piece of the steering wheel of the department.

That is why it is paramount that the following criteria be included: what do they do for the department, what contribution have they made or tried making and what have they done to better themselves and grow while with the department?

If they haven’t sought excellence before the promotion they probably will not seek it after. Quite frankly a person that doesn’t seek being of value to themselves, their team and their organization shouldn’t be allowed to lead the department on any level.

What role does experience have when selecting leaders? What are primary factors and what are secondary factors?

The only time leadership/supervision experience should be considered as a primary factor is when said experience was held with the current department.

When the applicant is internal what they have accomplished with another department while potentially impressive should only be considered as a secondary factor.

That what the individual has done for another department means less in context than what they have done for the one that they are in.

Obviously if an external candidate or new hire is being considered the value that they bring or brought to their department would become a primary factor.

Don’t forget that who you promote and how you promote carries with it many levels of implications.

If you promote a law enforcement officer who doesn’t do any self initiated work, pawns their work off on others and is frequently late how then can you expect the rank and file to be self motivated or punctual?

Not only is a promotion an act of departmental trust placed on an individual’s displayed ability and intention to lead the department in a positive direction, it is also an award.

A merit for those that do great work, give everyday their best effort and lead by example.

It also tacitly sets the standard of what the department holds as their standard and what can reasonably be expected from all other employees.

Promoting based on anything other than the value that the law enforcement officer brings or tries to bring to the department happens more frequently than it should.

Even more surprising than that is the fact that in the departments in which this unethical practice is taking place the affected law enforcement officer is expected to grin and bare it. Here is why that expectation is surprising.

Not only do most LEO’s have type A personalities but as people they inherently gravitate towards challenging unfairness and seeking to make things right.

As law enforcement officers are trained they are given cognitive and physical tools to enforce the law and are given the authority to use that force which is reasonable and necessary to combat unjust and illegal behavior.

So in essence the same person (law enforcement officer) that is trained to counteract and neutralize wrongdoing on behalf of the victim, is expected to do nothing when he/she is the victim of unjust and unethical treatment.

In metaphor it is like training a guard dog and then getting mad at it when it defends itself against aggressors.

Commanders shouldn’t act appalled or offended when a law enforcement officer requests a meeting with work file and portfolio in hand to discuss a questionable promotion.

Obviously the candidate that is not selected will feel that things weren’t done fairly. Nobody likes coming in second.

What makes things more difficult is when there are several qualified candidates by the suggested promotional standard and only one position is available. The ones not promoted may take the loss hard.

It is not the intention of this article to promote complaining when things don’t go your way.

What then is the point and underlying message? It is simple.

With a transparent process that is built on tangible standards the likelihood that complaints will be made and substantiated will diminish.

A good chief is a visionary and is the main keeper of the overall vision of what the department is and aspires to be.

Sometimes an executive decision needs to be made resulting in a promotion that maybe only makes sense to those privy to the inner circle of command and trusted advisors. Those types of appointments should not be handled like a regular promotion.

That undermines the intelligence of the rank and file. They will ask themselves and each other: why have a whole process if you already know who you need in a position?

From police officer to police chief two rules should apply without distinction: transparency and the ability to articulate every decision made and action taken pertinent to their duties.

A good police chief knows that they don’t owe an explanation to their subordinate rank and file. But a wise police chief will as a general rule (with few exceptions) always have one to give that makes sense to the objective listener if asked.

Bio abridged

Officer Eric Aguiar, LLB has a passion for fairness and seeks to assist in the personal, professional, and spiritual growth for LEOs and to better the community/police relationship.

Eric believes that leaders must foster and motivate the growth, fulfillment and development of law enforcement subordinates and co-workers. Everyone in the profession deserves the opportunity to grow into the role they wish to fulfill. Eric taught legal courses at a North-Atlanta technical college for 7 years before starting his law enforcement career. He currently serves as a police officer, positively influencing coworkers and community. Eric is credentialed in negation by Notre Dame University.

He believes that negotiation, as a skill is an important leadership asset.

His ultimate career goal is to serve as a police chief who focuses on professional growth and team development by cultivating a department culture supporting good morale and uniformity of leadership at all command levels.