Describe some of the challenges and struggles faced by a police chief? How would you deal with these challenges if you were in the role of police chief? Briefly describe your approach and priorities with regard to these challenges.
Two of the many challenges faced by a police chief would be challenging corruption and establishing trust within the community.
Corruption is one of the most difficult realities a police chief faces. The head of the police department cannot permit corrupt law enforcement officials to remain on the force. It sounds trite, but I think that there has to be a zero tolerance approach taken to corruption. This would be my number one priority.
When corruption undermines the integrity of law enforcement, a social breakdown is inevitable. When there are corrupt police officers, citizens cannot trust the police. We don't want people to wonder "Who's policing the police?" Avoiding it would be my mission as police chief. A police chief can seek to understand why corruption happens, but the reality is that they must stop it. Corruption might be self-serving or even "noble." However, it cannot be tolerated. I would take active steps to establish a culture that does not permit corruption to fester. One part of my approach would be to create a pipeline between police recruits and the municipal organization to ensure that young and old police officers alike are hearing the same message against corruption.
Another challenge that I would address as chief of police is frail connections between communities and their police officers. As a police chief, I would do my part to ensure that the police presence is an embedded part of the community. In order to develop bonds of trust between police and the community, visibility is critical in places such as schools, houses of worship, and businesses. No one wins when communities and the police do not have faith in one another.
As police chief, I would mandate that the police officers walking the beat and patrolling the neighborhood are invested in that community. These officers have to know their community, who in turn would get to know them. I would encourage neighborhood policing initiatives and block by block ensure that these initiatives involve the police. For example, sponsoring a weekly block awareness meeting where citizens meet and discuss crime-related issues in the presence of a police officer can go very far in strengthening the connections between community and law enforcement. As police chief, I would mandate that my officers are invested in the community.