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First line supervisors are essential in implementing reforms, changes, and adjustments to police policy and practice. Yet this rank is not often included in the development and implementation of these changes. They may also not be provided the necessary tools, resources, and information to facilitate those adjustments.

In-class training or policy directives may not be enough to implement evidence-based approaches, especially given the complexity, breadth, and depth of new and existing knowledge. In this demonstration, we try a “working group” approach with a local agency, that can be easily replicated by other agencies. This approach consists of the following:

  1. A local research partner meets with the sergeants before their monthly command meeting once a month to discuss contemporary deployment and supervisory issues, such as crime prevention, race and policing, community relationships, internal accountability, or officer wellness.
  2. The topic of the day is determined by the sergeants, with guidance from the research partner.
  3. Sergeants are given a short article/feature to read prior to the meetings, that prompts discussions about the issue. In our demonstration, we use short pieces from Translational Criminology, CEBCP’s One-Pagers, our various videos, or even newspaper articles that delve into a particular issue that includes research items.
  4. The researcher provides tangible resources, guidelines (such as the Playbook), or ideas about how supervisors might assess or implement evidence-based approaches.

For example, in one meeting, sergeants were asked to determine how much of their squad’s time was “uncommitted” to responding to calls or administration. Then information about the use of uncommitted time for prevention, problem-solving, or community engagement is given, as well as information on various strategies and tactics the sergeants might try. View this sample assignment.

The goal of this demonstration is to strengthen the knowledge and tactical tool kits of supervisors, so they can implement reform efforts pursued by their leadership. An additional goal is to strengthen the researcher’s knowledge of daily challenges to implementing change in policing and the realities of deployment.

Other resources and training for supervisors: