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Dear Workforce How Do We Determine Objective Criteria to Recognize Top-Performing Police Officers

How do we devise criteria for recognizing top-performing police officers? We believe officers should not be judged solely on the number of citations, arrests or captured arsonists they get in a month. I am looking to base the assessment on “soft” skills so that, when each lieutenant and sergeant tries to push for their people, there are factors that will separate each officer and let us see who the best performers truly are each month.
June 10, 2009
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Related Topics: Recognition, Career Development, Performance Appraisals, Employee Career Development, Dear Workforce
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Dear Recognize and Serve:
 
We know it's important to have objective criteria when granting recognition and awards. Otherwise, the value of the recognition activity will diminish as subjective measurement makes it appear that favoritism or popularity contests are in play. Unfortunately, the measures that are often selected tend to be what's easiest to do, not what most reflects the criteria we are honoring.
I recommend going back to the core values you are trying to honor, establishing the best measure you can that reflects that value, and then sticking with it. So if one core value is integrity, ask yourself some questions: “What does integrity look like in a policeman's job?” “Who is in the best situation to identify when it has occurred?”
Then, let the answers be your guide for measuring that value, as opposed to something more easily measured yet superficial such as “times clocked on to shift on time.” Or if the value is teamwork, ask which behavioral examples best reflect teamwork and use those as templates for your nominations. This might include volunteering for difficult assignments without being asked, or offering to help colleagues without expectation of a returned favor. These measures will steer you away from looser, less relevant criteria such as “is well-liked by others in the department.”
The more concrete and specific you can be in describing desired behaviors and performance of officers, the more likely you will not have to use looser, more subjective criteria, or irrelevant criteria such as the number of tickets an officer writes.
You might also consider having the nominations for the award come from one's peers who perhaps know which officers do the best job, rather than the department manager, who may not know as explicitly how well policemen act when out doing their jobs.
SOURCE: Bob Nelson, Nelson Motivation Inc., San Diego, May 11, 2007
LEARN MORE: The Workforce.com archive contain numerous tips and other material on recognition.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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Dear Workforce Newsletter
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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