What Law Enforcement Officers Need from Leadership

police officer near car

Leadership plays a critical role in the law enforcement industry. Great leaders possess the skills, knowledge and ability to inspire those around them. They demonstrate authority in high-pressure situations and exhibit a positive attitude to foster a productive work environment where all team members can be open, honest and motivated.

Becoming a law enforcement leader requires a person to adopt certain traits and continuously learn to improve themselves and others around them. Leaders also know the importance of making constructive changes when necessary, such as adopting new police technology.

Learn more about what law enforcement officers need from leadership and the benefits that come from having a strong leader within a department.

Qualities of an Effective Law Enforcement Leader

police chief in the officeNot everyone was born to lead. Certain people possess leadership traits that make them effective at guiding individuals, teams or businesses towards the fulfillment of objectives and goals. Great leaders know how to motivate others, build morale, provide guidance, initiate action and improve their work environment.

Here is a look at some of the most important qualities that an effective law enforcement leader should have:

1. Self-Motivated

Leaders must be self-motivated to continue moving forward, even in tough situations. They actively pursue and achieve their goals and push through setbacks in order to reach success.

2. Effective Communicator

Law enforcement leaders are often tasked with speaking with officers about a wide range of topics. They must be able to, with confidence, communicate concisely. Leaders should be able to clearly explain what problems exist, as well as present possible solutions.

They know when they should talk and when it is appropriate to listen to others. Leaders can also effectively communicate in a variety of ways, such as one-on-one, in group settings, via phone or through emails.

3. Driven

Leaders double as visionaries for the organizations they serve. They are always thinking in the long term about how best to improve the agency and what changes are needed to resolve problems or fix inferior processes. They do not give up and continue to work hard until they get the results they want.

4. Responsible and Accountable

Many people look to law enforcement leaders for guidance and advice. These leaders must be accountable and take responsibility for any mistakes that they may make in their role. They do their best to abide by organizational rules and policies to be good role models for officers. Great leaders also understand that other people make mistakes and can offer suggestions on how to move forward.

5. Confident

Law enforcement leaders must be confident in the way that they speak and act. They must make difficult decisions all the time and lead others with authority, which requires a certain level of confidence that not everyone possesses.

6. Emotionally Stable

Leaders in law enforcement cannot act irrationally or based solely on their emotions. They must be able to tolerate a high level of stress and frustration, as well as cope with tough situations that may provoke a strong emotional response, such as domestic violence, assault or abuse.

7. People-Oriented

Officers often come to leadership for advice or guidance on how to handle a particular situation. Leaders must know how to talk to their team and help each team member feel important to the department’s overall success. Leaders are often people-oriented and understand the importance of being a team player.

8. Law Enforcement Equipment & Tools

Having access to the right tools and resources is critical to be successful in the law enforcement industry. It is the responsibility of law enforcement agencies to provide officers with the protective gear, equipment and tools necessary to perform their job.

Two Types of Leadership Styles in Law Enforcement

Leadership styles that are valuable to the law enforcement industry include:

police officers in meeting
  • Transformational Leadership – Transformational leaders are focused on encouraging other people and pushing them towards success. They know what to say and do to excite and inspire others by helping them to see a clear and bright future. They foster positive change and know the importance of collaboration and communication. Leaders recognize their own strengths and reach for opportunities that help them grow and succeed.
  • Situational Leadership – Situational leaders have the ability to assess situations and recognize what resources may be appropriate to help ensure success. Police work can be very complex and sometimes even dangerous. A situational leader has the confidence and skills needed to make informed decisions even in high-pressure environments.

Schedule a Consultation Today with CPI OpenFox

Another important area where law enforcement leaders excel is introducing new technologies to their departments. Access to the right technologies can help officers be more effective in their roles and help ensure that cases are handled efficiently and with access to as much data as possible.

CPI OpenFox is a leader in law enforcement technology, offering a comprehensive suite of enterprise-grade programs that work seamlessly to streamline workflows and optimize critical law enforcement processes.

Solutions offered in the OpenFox Product Suite can help improve a department’s ability to share information, provide intelligence and store data. Learn more about the OpenFox Product Suite by scheduling a consultation with the CPI team.