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  • Looking for advice from Sergeants

    I'm a newly promoted SGT. In charge of a small squad, assigned to the road. I'm looking for different ideas to use during roll call. I'm aware of and currently apply the following: uniform inspections, case law refreshers, common statute refresher, scenario based training dealing with DUI, traffic stops, officer safety. The usual going over the prior shift's calls that we need to be aware of. Anything different you seasoned SGT's incorporate in your daily squad training? Any ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Do you supervise the entire shift, or just a small squad within the shift?
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      Yes, the entire shift

      Comment


      • #4
        First thing, congratulations.

        I think adding policy to your weekly is good. I don't know how big and busy you are but the only thing I'd add is that you consider an occasional outside guest come in for a briefing of your troops on misc topics that apply to their work environment. I always felt it was a good way to expand their knowledge of stuff going on around them during their shifts. They need to be structured and focused with maybe a max 30 min time frame. Examples would be:
        -drug task force supervisor talking about what they are up to and how the troops can help, etc.
        -new ADA or DA coming in to explain what they like and don't like about reports, case filings, plea outs, etc.
        -DSS case workers for a two-way conversation about what works and were rubs are happening.

        Those are just some of what I've used before. Just make them jurisdiction specific and focused and I believe they can be useful. And as stated before ^^^^^^ anything that helps them reduce their liability is great. Good luck.
        Last edited by Langford PR; 08-18-2013, 09:41 AM. Reason: bad finger
        Harry S. Truman, (1884-1972)
        “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”

        Capt. E.J. Land USMC,
        “Just remember – life is hard. But it’s one hell of a lot harder if you’re stupid.

        George Washington, (1732-1799)
        "I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man."

        Originally posted by Country_Jim
        ... Thus far, I am rooting for the zombies.

        Comment


        • #5
          IMO, roll call training isn't something that needs to be done on a daily basis. At least around here, getting the officers out of roll call and onto the streets as quickly as possible is the most important thing. We only conduct roll call twice a week and have a link on the officer's MDTs where they are expected to look at major incidents and BOLOS that have occurred during the previous shift. Roll calls are only done on the first and last shifts of the week. The computerized incident logs and BOLO/bulletin alerts negates the need for going over that stuff in the official roll calls. A lot of stuff that used to be roll call training is now also put out over email, which officers must read.

          I wouldn't conduct frequent uniform inspections unless they are either required by policy or you notice that officers' uniforms are substandard. If I noticed that, I'd make a general announcement to the squad about proper uniforms and then conduct uniform inspections in the future if things weren't changed. The same should go with vehicle inspections if your agency requires that or has assigned vehicles. At least do an intial one to make sure everyone has any required equipment in the vehicle, but I wouldn't do them extremely frequently unless you started to notice that they have dirty vehicles. It's also not a bad idea to do a weapon inspection at laest monthly, making sure everyone has a clean gun that is not rusted. Many officers who are issued Tasers also don't spark test them regularly, which can cause them to be ineffective. Testing the Tasers out to make sure they are working acceptably and making sure any issued OC isn't expired should be a part of the weapons inspection.

          As far as roll call training, what I would do initially is to go over high liability policies and issues (deadly force, pursuits, use of force, etc.) as well as anything else mandated by the department. We usually have monthly PowerPoint presentations put out by our training unit that has to be covered as roll call training. After some time reviewing their reports and investigations, you will probably start to notice things that you think your officers need training on. Start doing your weekly roll call training on those topics. Also, don't feel like you need to do everything yourself. If an officer does something particularly well or has specialized knowledge about a subject, let them do the training. You can also use roll call training as a non-disciplinary issue if an officer screws something up. Make them learn about the policies, procedures, and/or laws and then train the squad about them. The squad shouldn't be told that the officer is conducting training because he/she screwed something up, but if you adopt this type of training they will probably all figure it out soon enough. I have found that the prospect of having to go in front of the whole squad and have to conduct training due to mistakes has its own way of motivating officers to make sure they do the correct thing on the street. Whatever you do, make sure that when you cover a topic during roll call training there is a sheet that the officers sign that outlines the topic and the date it was covered.

          When I got promoted, I sat down and tried to remember things that I liked and didn't like about former supervisors. One of the things that officers don't like is being micromanaged or not trusted. I had a sergeant who would have everyone stand at attention and conduct uniform inspections (complete with hats which nobody ever wears) at least weekly. He would walk up and down the line like a drill sergeant pointing out the most miniscule things and writing people up for them. In addition to that, he would frequently show up on routine calls and take charge, telling us exactly what to do even though we already knew. There were times when we would hand in traffic citations and he would ask to see our copy of the citation so he could read our notes. If he didn't think that the notes were detailed enough, he would chastize us even though we were the ones who would have to testify to the violation in court and the notes are for our personal reference. He basically didn't trust his officers and wanted everyone to know that he was in charge. There are some officers who do need to be closely supervised, but I've found that most do not. Let your people do their jobs and only insert yourself into their decisions when you are asked, policy requires it, or you think they have trouble making the right decision.
          Last edited by Delta_V; 08-18-2013, 10:59 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TheTick
            I don't "Bear the weight of 3", but I'm in the chain of command. Anyway, you should add a policy refresher in there. I often go over at least one policy a week, especially street cop ****: UOF, pursuits, etc. When guys initially rolled their eyes, I reminded them that the only time cops at our place have gotten personally jammed up when we have gotten sued is when they broke policy. Everyone pays attention now.
            Good advice. Thanks for the tip!

            Comment


            • #7
              When I got promoted, I sat down and tried to remember things that I liked and didn't like about former supervisors. One of the things that officers don't like is being micromanaged or not trusted. I had a sergeant who would have everyone stand at attention and conduct uniform inspections (complete with hats which nobody ever wears) at least weekly. He would walk up and down the line like a drill sergeant pointing out the most miniscule things and writing people up for them. In addition to that, he would frequently show up on routine calls and take charge, telling us exactly what to do even though we already knew. There were times when we would hand in traffic citations and he would ask to see our copy of the citation so he could read our notes. If he didn't think that the notes were detailed enough, he would chastize us even though we were the ones who would have to testify to the violation in court and the notes are for our personal reference. He basically didn't trust his officers and wanted everyone to know that he was in charge. There are some officers who do need to be closely supervised, but I've found that most do not. Let your people do their jobs and only insert yourself into their decisions when you are asked, policy requires it, or you think they have trouble making the right decision

              Great advice, thank you! I too, believe in letting your officer's do their jobs and only intervene if asked or they are screwing something up. Definitely not a fan of micromanagement. Thanks again!

              Comment


              • #8
                Now you went and got me started.............

                To me, the job wasn’t to supervise alone. It was also to take care of my personnel.

                I used to sit down a lot with my shift and just talk to them. In doing so I tried to learn what was going on, what operational headaches they were facing, what the hotspots were on patrol, who were the biggest troublemakers they encountered on a routine basis, what things could be changed that would make their jobs more efficient, or easier, or put them at less risk, equipment issues, etc. I would ask what needed to be kept, what needed to be fixed and what needed to be tossed out.

                If there were things that needed to be changed, I would try to meet that need. Sometimes things couldn’t be changed and I would make sure the watch understood why that was, so they could better operate within the system. If they wanted the impractical, sometimes I would assign a couple of them to research the issue and find a way to do it within the law, department policy and the budget. Better they should discover on their own that what they wanted was illegal, out of policy or not within the budget, than me be the bad guy and tell them straight out. Besides, it gave them a chance to grow by learning more about the department and how things are done.

                I told my guys not to lie on reports of make chicken sh*t arrests. If you can’t arrest someone legitimately, let them go. If they are really a bad guy, they will screw up tomorrow or next week and someone else will arrest them.

                I also told them if they screw up to come to me first and don’t lie. It’s better if they handle it head on than someone makes a complaint and the department finds out about it later. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much of a problem in this area. I had a tight enough shift that if someone started to get even slightly out of line, the entire watch climbed all over them and straightened them out before it became serious enough to warrant supervisory review.

                If an officer didn’t know something I didn’t make him feel stupid, I taught it to him. If I wasn’t around, the others taught him. Again, it was a tight watch.

                There were times when I would sit the watch down and walk them through things. For example, one shift we talked about what would happen if they had an officer involved shooting. I went through each step of the process and explained what would happen and why. This way they knew the procedure ahead of time, understood why it was being done and wouldn’t think they were getting the shaft if it ever happened to them.

                We would debrief after serious incidents. Fortunately I had a tight team and egos did not get in the way. If someone stepped on it during the incident they fessed up and rather than suffer from their mistakes, we all learned and profited from them and moved on.

                I tried not to micromanage, but made it a point to show up on all backup calls, all felonies in progress or anything where my officers were at risk so the officers knew I was concerned about their welfare.

                I also told my team that I was not above making mistakes. If they saw me doing something they thought was wrong, I expected them to quietly take me aside and say something to me. I said I would be upset with them if they failed to do so. However, if after expressing their concerns I tell them we still going to do it my way, then we are going to do it my way.

                Back in the academy they told us a leadership story about Mahatma Gandhi, a skinny little guy dressed in nothing more than an adult diaper, who years ago lead tens of thousands of people to kick the British out of India. It was said that one day he was leading thousands of people on a protest march when the press asked him to step out of the march for “just a few quick questions.” The questions were endless and as the marches kept going by, Gandhi was getting visibly uncomfortable. Finally he ended the interview saying, “I’m terribly sorry but those are my people, I am their leader and I must hurry if I want to catch up with them.”

                The point of the story is that as a leader, you channel your group’s energy, stay ahead of them and point that energy in the direction you want it to go. If, rather than just supervise you have good team building skills and can lead, you should be able to make your shift do anything.

                Lastly, I operated under a philosophy that drove my superiors nuts. I firmly believe that no set of rules can be written so thoroughly as to anticipate every possible contingency. Consequently, there will be rare occasions when it becomes necessary to deviate from the rules, regulations or department policy. Don’t be so rigid that you have a stick up you’re a** as a supervisor. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the rules if the circumstances warrant it, but when that happens, be prepared to stand up and defend your actions.
                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                Comment


                • #9
                  Humor. At some point watch something funny. My guys had one supervisor who always showed officers getting murdered or killed. This destroyed their motivation. If you can teach and make them laugh you are winning. Find out what types of **** they are passionate about and let them train the shift.
                  1*

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If somebody messes something up make them put on team training on that topic.

                    I have a number of training power point presentations i have put together on various le topics. For example every june i put on fireworks enforcement training. I have dui update, dope stuff, etc.

                    Debrief operations. Lead discussion on how you'll handle next time.
                    If you see me running try to keep up!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                      To me, the job wasn’t to supervise alone. It was also to take care of my personnel.

                      I used to sit down a lot with my shift and just talk to them. In doing so I tried to learn what was going on, what operational headaches they were facing, what the hotspots were on patrol, who were the biggest troublemakers they encountered on a routine basis, what things could be changed that would make their jobs more efficient, or easier, or put them at less risk, equipment issues, etc. I would ask what needed to be kept, what needed to be fixed and what needed to be tossed out.

                      If there were things that needed to be changed, I would try to meet that need. Sometimes things couldn’t be changed and I would make sure the watch understood why that was, so they could better operate within the system. If they wanted the impractical, sometimes I would assign a couple of them to research the issue and find a way to do it within the law, department policy and the budget. Better they should discover on their own that what they wanted was illegal, out of policy or not within the budget, than me be the bad guy and tell them straight out. Besides, it gave them a chance to grow by learning more about the department and how things are done.

                      I told my guys not to lie on reports of make chicken sh*t arrests. If you can’t arrest someone legitimately, let them go. If they are really a bad guy, they will screw up tomorrow or next week and someone else will arrest them.

                      I also told them if they screw up to come to me first and don’t lie. It’s better if they handle it head on than someone makes a complaint and the department finds out about it later. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much of a problem in this area. I had a tight enough shift that if someone started to get even slightly out of line, the entire watch climbed all over them and straightened them out before it became serious enough to warrant supervisory review.

                      If an officer didn’t know something I didn’t make him feel stupid, I taught it to him. If I wasn’t around, the others taught him. Again, it was a tight watch.

                      There were times when I would sit the watch down and walk them through things. For example, one shift we talked about what would happen if they had an officer involved shooting. I went through each step of the process and explained what would happen and why. This way they knew the procedure ahead of time, understood why it was being done and wouldn’t think they were getting the shaft if it ever happened to them.

                      We would debrief after serious incidents. Fortunately I had a tight team and egos did not get in the way. If someone stepped on it during the incident they fessed up and rather than suffer from their mistakes, we all learned and profited from them and moved on.

                      I tried not to micromanage, but made it a point to show up on all backup calls, all felonies in progress or anything where my officers were at risk so the officers knew I was concerned about their welfare.

                      I also told my team that I was not above making mistakes. If they saw me doing something they thought was wrong, I expected them to quietly take me aside and say something to me. I said I would be upset with them if they failed to do so. However, if after expressing their concerns I tell them we still going to do it my way, then we are going to do it my way.

                      Back in the academy they told us a leadership story about Mahatma Gandhi, a skinny little guy dressed in nothing more than an adult diaper, who years ago lead tens of thousands of people to kick the British out of India. It was said that one day he was leading thousands of people on a protest march when the press asked him to step out of the march for “just a few quick questions.” The questions were endless and as the marches kept going by, Gandhi was getting visibly uncomfortable. Finally he ended the interview saying, “I’m terribly sorry but those are my people, I am their leader and I must hurry if I want to catch up with them.”

                      The point of the story is that as a leader, you channel your group’s energy, stay ahead of them and point that energy in the direction you want it to go. If, rather than just supervise you have good team building skills and can lead, you should be able to make your shift do anything.

                      Lastly, I operated under a philosophy that drove my superiors nuts. I firmly believe that no set of rules can be written so thoroughly as to anticipate every possible contingency. Consequently, there will be rare occasions when it becomes necessary to deviate from the rules, regulations or department policy. Don’t be so rigid that you have a stick up you’re a** as a supervisor. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the rules if the circumstances warrant it, but when that happens, be prepared to stand up and defend your actions.
                      Sounds like a C.O. Id want to work for.
                      "Its not what you know, its what you can prove."-Training Day

                      "Game on, bitches. Whoop whoop, flash the lights, pull it over."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Delta_V View Post
                        IMO, roll call training isn't something that needs to be done on a daily basis. At least around here, getting the officers out of roll call and onto the streets as quickly as possible is the most important thing. We only conduct roll call twice a week ...
                        I disagree. Roll call training, occassional inspection, pep talk, "atta boys/gals", reprimands when needed, etc. As a rookie supervisor I had a officer come to work, drunk. He was terminated.

                        One thing I tell new supervisors; Do not try to be like SGT Rock, SGT Smith or SGT Jones. It is 'your' assignment and you do it the way you want to. Remember no sergeant is perfect, just be your best and honest. All your people will not like you, that is just the way it is.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Use each officer for their strengths. Listen to what they say and observe what they do. Always make sure they are taken care of and back them when they're right. Praise in public, discipline in private. If they screw up, find a way to make it right.
                          Being a good street cop is like coming to work in a wet suit and peeing in your pants. It's a nice warm feeling, but you're the only one who knows anything has happened.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am not a sergeant.

                            Keep roll call short and sweet. Let your guys get out to their beats and go to work ASAP.

                            No uniform inspections. If someone's uniform is a mess, correct him one-on-one.

                            Follow policy to the letter. If you don't, you are telling your guys that they don't have to either, and that there are no consequences for doing whatever they want.

                            Never tell someone to do what you won't do yourself.

                            Make roll call training relevant. Focus on tactics, case law that directly affects patrol and such.

                            If one of your guys is a slug or a whiny bitch, find out why. He may be having problems at home and is in need of assistance of some type. But if he's just a useless load on blue welfare, force him to start working.

                            Come up with fun ways to crush crime. See who can recover the most stolen cars or who can clear out the most open warrants in his beat. Make sure they know how to use the rcords management system to know the crime trends.

                            Maintain at least minimum staffing. Don't go out shorthanded because it's a Saturday, two people called in sick and no one answered the text message to come in. Order someone in. Having proper coverage is more important than someone being butthurt about having to work.

                            Have fun. Highlight the odd and ridiculous calls they go to, praise them for good work, get them together for barbecues on days off and for choir practice at the end of the week.
                            Last edited by ateamer; 12-01-2013, 03:04 PM.
                            Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                            I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                              I am not a sergeant.

                              Keep roll call short and sweet. Let your guys get out to their beats and go to work ASAP.

                              No uniform inspections. If someone's uniform is a mess, correct him one-on-one.

                              Follow policy to the letter. ...

                              Maintain at least minimum staffing. Don't go out shorthanded because it's a Saturday, ...
                              Obviously your POV is from an officer.

                              Unless you are on a real small department, sergeants do not make staffing calls. That is the LT role and anything to do with payroll.

                              Comment

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