Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen
Good Afternoon ladies and gentlemen, my name is Jasmine Straight, and I would like to first take the time out to express my extreme gratitude for being selected as a finalist for chief of police in your town. Unfortunately, this agency has been a victim of severe criticism for quite some time. Most of which has been the product of inadequate leadership prior to my arrival. To rectify this issue, we must carefully examine the root of the issues and through the implementation of appropriate leadership, we can build this department into one of integrity. If I am selected to be your chief of police my first area of business would be to aid in mending the relationship between the city council and the mayor. In order to achieve this I plan to host a meeting between the two to introduce my agenda that I have devised in order to build the department into an entity that our city can be proud of.
The second area of concern that I will discuss is media relations. In the past, the Mississippiville police department’s relationship with the media has been extremely unfavorable. Thus, resulting in damage to the community’s relationship with the department. We exist in an era where information is readily available through several outlets such as websites, TV, etc. Therefore, the vast majority of people are so inclined to believe whatever is presented in the media over us. To rectify this problem, I have developed several ideas. Firstly, I will appoint a public information officer that will address the media and make public statements and we will not comment on things in the media until we have all of the information. In law enforcement it is imperative that we communicate the facts that does not necessarily mean it has to be fast. This procedure will ensure that we eradicate ignorance and do our best to minimize disinformation that gets out to the public. It is vital that that we establish a symbiotic relationship with the media in efforts to salvage our relationship with the community.
The next area of concern is freedom of speech and how it relates to community relations. It has been brought to my attention that there have been several issues with some officers making extremely disparaging comments regarding the African American community. This is highly unacceptable and will not be tolerated because it has led to a lack of trust and confidence in our department. African Americans represent 70% of our community. We need them just as much as they need us, so it is crucial that our relationship is mutually positive and long lasting. I plan to accomplish this in many ways. I would first like to introduce a diversity training that all officers new and experienced alike will have to take. This training will revolve around diversity and cultural awareness for our officers. Although this is a great start, we still would have a long way to go if we are going to achieve our goal in rebuilding the community’s trust in the department. I would also like for our community relations division to selective a representative to attend a city council meetings as well as a local NAACP meeting once a week to act as our ambassador. The next thing that I would like to implement is what I will call Stop and Talk. This entails each officer stopping to introduce themselves to at least one individual a day whom they have never met before. This will help the community associate a friendly face with our uniform and inform the public that we are approachable. If I am appointed chief I would like for our department’s door to be open to the public. We will achieve this by hosting meet and greet events that the public can attend to voice their concerns with us and give tips on ways in which we can better serve our community. This also gives us a chance to explain to the community why we do things the way we do.
This topic leads into my next point of interest. Although Mississippiville Police department serves a community that is 70 percent African American, they only represent about 10 percent of our entire department. In order to regain some of the public’s trust it is important that the community sees itself within the department. This is extremely significant because it gives us a better view of the environment and the people in which this department serves. In order to achieve this, it is my goal to collaborate with local historically black learning institutions to provide African American college students with various internships with the department. One angle that I have considered, is the fact that it may not be so hard to recruit African American officers as it is to get them hired. This could be in part due to the selection criteria through which we have to abide by; in particular the written exam. My plan is to review the written exam, to determine if the examination should be revised in order to afford equal chances for success to all of our potential recruits.
Next I would like to address the issue of sexual harassment. In the past it seems as though this department has had an immense issue with this deplorable action. This has led to the inability to recruit and retain female officers. Research suggests that women police officers are more efficient in de-escalating potentially violent situations as well as responding to domestic disputes involving violence against women. These facts alone prove that women are an asset that can prove beneficial to our department. As police chief I plan to introduce a zero tolerance policy in regards to any behavior that can be deemed sexual harassment in accordance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidelines. Any allegations of an officer involved in any type of sexual harassment will result in that officer being placed on unpaid leave pending a thorough investigation by internal affairs. After the investigation is complete, if it is determined that the officer committed any acts of sexual harassment they will be immediately terminated. The Mississippiville Police Department is already under a microscope of scrutiny by the media and we cannot afford to have what is called conduct unbecoming in our department In order to gain new female officers, the first new recruiting technique that I plan to implement is to place women on our recruiting team. If women have the opportunity to witness other women in law enforcement, it may encourage them to consider pursuing a career in law enforcement. Another tactic that I plan on utilizing is a career fair that is specifically tailored to recruiting more women. The career fair will consist of a panel of women that hold different roles within the department. We will also have informational presentations that will talk about the essential functions of being an officer, schedules, and any benefits that come with being a female police officer. The next tactic that I will enforce is placing a woman on all of the promotional fliers, websites, and commercials that we use as recruitment tools. Another way in which I plan to recruit female officers is to eliminate some of the disadvantages of the selection process. For instance, many women are intimidated by the physical fitness test that one must pass in order to be considered for hire. It is my belief that if we at least offer mock physical fitness and civil service tests at our department, It gives women an opportunity to train for success before even applying to the department.
In regards to recruiting in general, the Mississippiville police department has had trouble recruiting college educated officers due to the negative stigma surrounding a lack of professionalism here at the department. In order to obtain well rounded recruits I plan to send a recruitment team to various college campuses that offer classes on policing to speak to the students about what it’s like to be a police officer. I will be initiating a new set of recruitment stipulations. The first stipulation is that all potential recruits must have earned at least 50 college credits in the field of Criminal Justice to be considered for employment here at this agency. In addition to that, officers who have completed their degrees will be fairly compensated. For instance, base starting pay for officers here is $33,000, an officer entering our agency with a bachelor’s degree will receive a base salary of $36,000, candidates with master’s degree will be receive $39,000 and those with PhDs will receive $42,000. It is my belief that these changes will help us recruit more capable officers.
The next area of concern revolves around this department’s moonlighting policy or lack thereof. Moonlighting or in other words private off duty employment has become the norm in many departments. In some ways this is beneficial because it gives officers the opportunity to earn extra income as well as allowing officers to interact in the community while they aren’t on duty. Moonlighting can also be detrimental because it can cause liability concerns for the department. As chief I will incorporate a set of specific guidelines that will be strictly enforced. Officers wanting off duty employment must first submit a formal request detailing the duties and expectations of the additional job. The officer will also go through extensive evaluation to ensure that they are performing the essential job functions of this job first. Once approved by the police chief, officer may engage in off duty employment for up to 25 hours per week. In addition to these guidelines the officer is not permitted to use any government equipment such as vehicles, guns, Taser, or wear any clothing that affiliates them with the Mississippiville Police Department. In order to ensure compliance with these guidelines, all officers must sign an agreement stating that they comprehend the guidelines surrounding the outside employment. Any divergence from these guidelines depending on the severity could result in immediate separation from duty.
The next thing I will address is this department’s residency policy. It is extremely important for the safety of the community, that we have officers that are able to respond to danger at any time day or night. This is not feasible if 30% of our officers reside outside of city limits. As chief, the new residency policy will require all new officers to live no more than 20 miles outside of the city limits. I will not require previous officers to relocate to homes within the city limits.
The final area that is cause for concern is this department’s sick leave policy. Sick leave when used for its intended purpose is an extremely mandatory component of any employment agency. Be that as it may, it has been brought to my attention that numerous officers have been misusing the department’s sick leave policy for reasons ranging from barhopping to outside employment. This is highly unacceptable. In order to rectify this issue, my policy is as stated: Officers who call out to work because of illness must upon return, provide documentation from a licensed medical professional. If the illness or any other type of emergency exceeds beyond those 10 days, the officer will be required to apply for leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. Officers that have been employed at the department one calendar year, or have worked a total of 1250 hours will be afforded 12 weeks of leave. As chief, I will make sure that this department does its part to adhere with all federal guidelines regarding age discrimination, family and medical leave, pregnancy discrimination, etc.
As police chief of the Mississippiville Police Department, I plan to repair the deplorable conditions that plague the department due to impoverished management in the past. This department lacks structure and it is my intention to rebuild this department from the ground up. Thank you for consideration, and I would be honored if you select me to serve as your next chief of police.