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WK7 Discussion

Answer Primary Questions 250 words. Respond to 3 classmates 250 words each

Please answer the following questions:

Also remember these comprise what is referred to as the “primary post”, i.e., these should be posted in a single post with one response on top of the other. Each should be numbered to clearly show where the response to #1 ends and the response to #2 starts.

1. In what ways is the police administrator exposed to liability? What can he/she do to reduce this liability exposure?

2. What is necessary for positive organizational change to occur within a police agency?

Note: As part of the response to #2 I want you to include how ethics could and or has impacted positive organizational change within a police agency.

Classmate 1 Stephanie: The police administrator is exposed to liability in any situation where a subordinate officer interacts or fulfills official duties on behalf of the city or state. (Macfarlane, 2019) Really, understanding all behaviors and actions performed in the furtherance of police duties will become the responsibility of the police chief and or police administrator, creates a new thought process when officers perform their daily functions. (Macfarlane, 2019) The police administrator can reduce exposure to liability by ensuring proper training for all officers including those who fill specialty slots in units which specialize in a specific type of crime or criminal. For example, narcotics officers should have full understanding and if possible, certification, in narcotics knowledge, recognition, and medical assistance. (Macfarlane, 2019) This is likely to be part of the position of the narcotics officer and without having these training programs, the administrator may be liable for a death which occurs on the officer’s watch. The police administrator may also consider different weapons and firearms courses, negative target practice, drills, tactics training, threat analysis courses, etc. (Macfarlane, 2019) All the different factors surrounding police officers and their interactions with the public are opportunities for liability and this can be minimized by providing the officers with the best training and the most up-to-date knowledge and understanding of law. (Macfarlane, 2019)

For positive organizational change to occur within a police agency, it is necessary for the change to be supported and seen at all levels. Most officers, or people for that matter, do not change easily and resist change. (Gibbons, et al, 2020) Change is difficult as it requires learning new processes and procedures and adapting to the changes. (Gibbons, et al, 2020) Ethics could impact, or has impacted, positive organizational change within a police agency by allowing unethical behavior to continue, which would negatively impact positive organizational change, or having a community of officers with strong ethical standards and improve positive organizational changes as a team. (Gibbons, et al, 2020)



Gibbons, M. J., B.S., Fan, Mary D,J.D., M.Phil, Rowhani-Rahbar, A., & Rivara, Frederick P,M.D., M.P.H. (2020). Legal liability for returning firearms to suicidal persons who voluntarily surrender them in 50 US states. American Journal of Public Health, 110(5), 685-688. doi:…

Macfarlane, K. (2019). Foreseeable police shootings. Columbia LawReview, 119(8), 283-301.

Classmate 2 Robert: In what ways is the police administrator exposed to liability? What can he/she do to reduce this liability exposure?

As an officer seeks promotional opportunities and assumes the responsibilities of leadership in law enforcement, they must acknowledge the types of liability they assume. A supervisor assumes vicarious liability when they fail to act when they know, should have known something was occurring or about to occur and failed to prevent the action or did nothing afterwards. The types of vicarious liability are negligent appointment, negligent retention, negligent supervision, negligent assignment, negligent entrustment, negligent training, and negligent failure to direct (Bowden, 2018).

Negligent appointment is placing a person in a position they are unqualified to assume and during performing those duties injures another person (Bowden, 2018). The administrator should ensure personnel and adequately prepared to assume that role by ensuring individuals is certified to perform assigned functions. The administrator who places that person in that position assumes the responsibility of the employee’s actions.

Negligent retention is keeping an incompetent employee in a position and not retraining or terminating an employee (Bowden, 2018). Administrators need to ensure they properly document the performance of substandard officers and follow the termination sequence to ensure officers are properly dismissed. Retaining a substandard performer opens the administrator and agency to liabilities for keeping the officer.

Negligent supervision is failing to perform the duties of a supervisor and not holding officers accountable for their actions or inactions (Bowden, 2018). The administrator should invest time and resources to properly train supervisors, hold them accountable and clearly explain the expectations of being a supervisor.

Negligent training is failing to properly train officers to do their job or ensuring those officers maintain their certifications (Bowden, 2018). Administrators can ensure officers receive training from certified trainers prior to issuing new equipment, conducting in-service training and ensure policies are updated and reflect how to properly use equipment or handle certain incidents.

Negligent failure to direct is holding officers accountable by ensuring policies are followed consistently (Bowden, 2018). Failure to consistently follow policy creates instability in the department and officers begin to question the validity of leadership and polices and may see double standards in adhering to department policy.

Negligent entrustment is providing an officer access to equipment without proper training (Bowden, 2018). For instance, issuing an officer a “less-lethal” shotgun and not providing the training to avoid targeting the head and face or engaging at close range. This type of incident unnecessarily exposes the public to potential harm and opens the department up to liability.

Negligent assignment is a supervisor permitting a substandard performer to continue performing those duties without correcting the action (Bowden, 2018). Any damages or injuries resulting from permitting the officer to continue will open the supervisor and agency to labilities.

Administrators need to be attuned to what is occurring in their department and adjust policy to address emerging issues. Senior leaders need to invest time and training to ensure first-line leaders and middle managers are adequately trained to assume leadership roles. Additionally the leadership needs to maintain up-to-date policy manuals that are consistent with changes in case law and personnel rules, hold all personnel accountable and administer discipline consistently regardless of rank.

Bowden, J. (2018) Today’s field training officer for law enforcement. Duncan, OK: APTAC Publications

What is necessary for positive organizational change to occur within a police agency?

According to Ford, leading organizational change in a police agency takes five stages: exploration, commitment, planning, implementation, and monitoring/revising (2007). The exploration phase involves looking into options and how to improve overall services that police departments provide (Ford, 2007). To reduce the resistance, officers should be part of this entire process. Giving them a voice early on provides them with the opportunity to shape the new direction of the department.

Commitment is the next step where officers and leaders are united by a joint vision they have collaborated on for the department (Ford, 2007). Having that vision or organizational goal provides them an end-state of what they desire to accomplish. Once the team, has determined that goal, they can move onto the next phase.

Planning is the next phase in the process, and leaders and team members need to remain committed to the changes. Leaders should reenforce the direction the department is going and officers from all functions need to take part in formulating the new plan (Wood, Fleming, and Marks, 2008). Having a good cross section of officers, from various ranks and functions, planning on how to implement the change helps ensure each respective functional section is considered in the process.

The fourth stage is implementation. Once the planning team determines what needs to happen the implementation team can build a timeline to establish sequencing for key events (Ford, 2007). Having officers involved in discussing sequencing of key events provides the perspective from the patrol officer on how sequencing could disrupt patrol responses or other responses.

The last stage for the change process is monitoring and revising. As the implementation team establishes the proper sequencing, they concurrently establish measures of effectiveness for the plan. The measures look for ways to determine how effective the change is and does the plan need any revision.

Throughout the process, the inclusion of all ranks in the change initiative and giving them the freedom to speak candidly builds trust in the agency and officers may become more willing to share ideas. The added benefit is the rank and file will hear how well or poorly the collaboration process goes. Permitting open communication, during this process, will be beneficial to the department in other endeavors as well.

The agency’s leadership must set the tone of acceptable practices and create a work environment that awards integrity and professionalism. As a chief, one of my first actions is to present a class on ethics that is centered on the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Using IACP’s Code of Ethics as the foundation reinforces the importance of performing our police functions with the highest professional standards. Holding personnel accountable for their actions and administering discipline quickly but fairly sets the tone for acceptable behavior

An example of changing a police organization was the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission being created by combining two former existing state agencies. In 1998, the voters in the State of Florida decided to amend the State’s Constitution and merge the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Bureau of the Florida Marine Patrol to form one agency. In this instance, the voters of the state overwhelming decided to merge these two agencies (Waters, 2000). Naturally, some officers were stubbornly opposed to the idea citing identity with their respective former agency and suspicion of their new brethren serving as a barrier to developing a new agency (Wood, Fleming, and Marks, 2008). Due to time and fiscal constraints, the merger was to occur in nine months and forced the agency to focus heavily on monitoring and revising. Once FWC met the merger deadline, the agency adjusted its focus to making more substantial changes by focusing on monitoring and revising.

Ford, J., (2007). Building capability throughout a change effort: Leading the transformation of a police agency to community policing. Retrieved from discovery/fulldisplay?docid=cdi_springer_primary_2007_10464_39_3_9115&context=PC&vid=01APUS_INST:01APUS&lang=en&search_scope=MyInst_and_CI&adaptor=Primo%20Central&tab=Everything&query=any,contains,change%20in%20police%20ford&offset=0

Waters, S. (2000) FWC merger pays off. Retrieved from

Wood, J, Fleming, J, and Marks, M., (2008) Building the capacity of police change agents: The nexus policing project. Retrieved from pdfviewer /pdfviewer?vid=1&sid= fc530e22-2781-4904-aa84-33e1fa27f34b%40sdc-v-sessmgr02

Classmate 3 Michael:

  1. In what ways is the police administrator exposed to liability? What can he/she do to reduce this liability exposure?

Police administrators are exposed on a daily basis to many liability factors to include administrative, civil, and even criminal consequences. America’s system is centralized in Civil Rights and citizens are more knowledge-based and rights conscious than ever before (Mathern, 2012) (Walsh & Conway, 2011). Over the past 50 years, drastic growth in efforts to hold police accountable have been prioritized criminally, administratively, and civilly (Walsh & Conway, 2011). Protections in place such as police unions and legal elements such as qualified immunity are under attack. Civil rights attorneys and “politically rogue” prosecutors have a “bloodthirst” for holding police accountable to unrealistic standards and expect officers to justify and explain all actions (Mathern, 2012). Police policies, employment contracts, training, and management practices are all scrutinized in the pursuit of legal cases (Mathern, 2012). Because of this reality, police administrators need to be diligent, competent and influential on organizational culture reflecting best practices of an effective, efficient, and disciplined police agency (Walsh & Conway, 2011). Police administrators are at the top of the chain and are inherently responsible for their subordinates’ behaviors and the policies they follow. This means a mistake made at the bottom of the chain could potentially result in those at the very top being held accountable. Organizational professionalism, culture, and policy is directly reflective on the leaders.

Police administrators can take measures to reduce liability and encourage a professional environment through the implementation of policies, goals, objectives, expectations, training, and strategies (Walsh & Conway, 2011). An example of this is the popular topic of de-escalation. De-escalation is the act of moving from a state of high tension to a state of reduced tension, such as cases of crisis intervention or conflict resolution (Oliva et al., 2010). Administrators can ensure this is implemented into entry-level training and “refreshed” during yearly in-service training. De-escalation has been proven to reduce use of force (UOF), injuries to both officers and suspects, and liability (Oliva et al., 2010). Increasing the training, knowledge, and experience of personnel will have an overall benefit to an organization. Specific training in areas such as mental health, juvenile justice, Verbal Judo (Communication/De-escalation), and law, all provide skills or “tools” on the officer’s belt to maximize performance through maximized competence (Oliva et al., 2010). The better prepared an officer is to do a job, the better they will perform and the less liability they will face.

In addition to training and policy implantation, police administrators must hold officer accountable internally. With growing numbers of police complaints globally, it is imperative that risk is minimized and the ability to provide evidence of professionalism is equally important (Walsh & Conway, 2011). Management should ensure that supervisors are properly managing employees and that behaviors and standards are reflective of policies (Mathern, 2012). Supervisors must recognize any deficiencies or misconduct and address it by completing performance improvement plans or remedial training. Policies are only effective if they are being followed and that there is “buy in” both internally and externally. It is imperative that background checks are conducted thoroughly, prior to an officer’s appointment. Performance should be measured, gauged, and evaluated to analyze continued standards of performance all the way through promotions and highest levels of management (Walsh & Conway, 2011).

  1. What is necessary for positive organizational change to occur within a police agency?

Note: As part of the response to #2 I want you to include how ethics could and or has impacted positive organizational change within a police agency.

The key to positive organizational change is “buy in” from the employees of the organization and support of the community. Organizational culture and perception must be professional, transparent, responsive, ethical, and accountable (Walsh & Conway, 2011). Internal and external confidence is heavily reliant on effective leadership, organizational goals, strategic planning, and community relations (Mazmanian, 2001). Leadership should be able to identify, rectify, and anticipate any vulnerabilities or potential areas of weakness in the organization. This requires dedication to ethics, maintenance of standards, effective discipline, effective promotion, effective policy implementation, and effective resource allocation (Walsh & Conway, 2011). This is often difficult due to the constant change in policing. Case law, politics, and professional trends all play a part in forming the opinions of judges determining case law, legislators determining state law, and prosecutors who determine the meaning of probable cause (Mathern, 2012). Police administrators have to consider all of these things, while holding true to the high standards of ethics and professionalism they are required to establish (Walsh & Conway, 2011). This part is very important and answers how ethics has and will impact organizational change. Organizational leaders who do not have standards or ethical cultural values, will cause a “trickle effect” on the rest of the agency. The old saying “lead by example” in extremely important in effective positive organizational change. The development in technology, intelligence, problem-oriented policing, increased trained personnel/ units contribute to streamlining organizational culture, embedded with Twenty-First Century Policing principals (Walsh & Conway, 2011).

Community relationships and transparency is not a new topic, however, it has gained greater attention in recent years. A simple initiative to provide transparency and evidence to the public, is to maintain certification through a third-party accreditation such as The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) that is based on professional practices and ethics. According to CALEA, obtaining accreditation provides evidence of the commitment to excellence in leadership, reduces liability, and enhances accountability for the agency. CALEA standards are supported by citizens, officials, and police personnel alike. This is not a mandatory program; however, it should be. CALEA establishes the groundwork for policing to effect the best policies, practices, and standards. Having the CALEA accreditation sets the agencies who participate, above all others. CALEA along with guidance from federal and state law provides the foundation for an organization’s culture. The rules and rights that govern police authority are also used to provide officers the best chance at success and limit liability (Bhave, 2011). Using these guides to shape the most professional officers, policies, standards and culture; will inevitably build trust, confidence, and cooperation from citizens (Walsh & Conway, 2011). There is no doubt that there will continue to be dissatisfied citizens and complaints made on officers, both true and false. That being said, police administrators should take every step necessary to provide proof in a timely and accurate manner in response to complaints and accusations. With technology such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Body-Worn Camera (BWC), software, social media, databases and other technologies, information can be collected, maintained, and produced for complete transparency. Ethics should be at the root of all police agencies and the integrity of the agency and officers should be maintained. There is no room for even the “perception” of misconduct and police administrators must ensure that this remains to be true. At any time, a question of ethics can either make or break the effect of organizational change internally and externally. Providing information directly to the public and utilizing outside agencies as a third-party investigator for egregious claims is also contributory to trust and transparency.


Bhave, S. (2011). The Innocent have Rights Too: Expanding Brady V. Maryland To Provide The Criminally Innocent With A Cause Of Action Against Police Officers Who Withhold Exculpatory Evidence. Creighton Law Review, 45(1), 1–.

Case, A. (2010). Protecting Rights By Rejecting Lawsuits: Using Immunity To Prevent Civil Litigation From Eroding Police Obligations Under Brady v. Maryland. Columbia Human Rights Law Review, 42(1), 187–.

Mathern, A. (2012). Federal Civil Rights Lawsuits And Civil Gideon: A Solution To Disproportionate Police Force? (Symposium: War on … The Fallout of Declaring War on Social Issues). The Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice, 15(2-3), 353–378.

Mazmanian, P. (2001). Organizational Change: Ethics, Information, And Technology for Improved Practice. The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 21(1), 5–5.

Oliva, J., Morgan, R., & Compton, M. (2010). A Practical Overview of De-Escalation Skills in Law Enforcement: Helping Individuals in Crisis While Reducing Police Liability and Injury. Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations, 10(1-2), 15–29.

The Commission On Accreditation For Law Enforcement Agencies (2021). Retrieved from

Walsh, D., & Conway, V. (2011). Police Governance And Accountability: Overview Of Current issues. Crime, Law, and Social Change, 55(2), 61–86.

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