Establishing a good working partnership between a city’s Police Chief and its City Manager is critical in both supporting the local government and meeting the needs of 21st Century policing. Typically, police chiefs and city managers come from markedly different backgrounds and career experiences, making the creation and maintenance of a collaborative relationship difficult, especially during emergency situations that arise. The Center for Public Safety Management (CPSM) has developed “Strengthening the City Manager/Police Chief Relationship” in response to this challenge.
Held at the Oregon State Police Academy last November, this two-day intensive workshop comprised of presentations, small and large group discussion, and comprehensive sharing of information between all attendees. The program attempts to bridge the knowledge and experience between city managers and police chiefs, focusing on assisting both groups to better understand each other’s roles by defining what a high-performance Manager/Chief relationship should look like as well as the obstacles to attaining it. The management training outlines Crisis Communication and Social Media, Performance Assessment, and Risk Management. In this way, city managers and police chiefs can learn from one another and begin working towards future interactions, from daily communications to crisis scenarios.
This program additionally assists both groups to recognize and leverage other municipal and local government and non-profit services for the safety and quality of life of their city’s residents. Although the main priority is to create a connection between police chiefs and city managers, CPSM understands the importance of teaching attendees to examine their work within the broader context of local and national politics and trends. As a result, the newly forged team can collaborate and develop a plan for their city to meet recommendations for 21st Century policing.
Leonard Matarese, co-founder and Principal of CPSM, led the workshop alongside CPSM team members Rod Gould, Chief Kenton Rainey, and Paul O’Connell, Ph.D. Backed by 47 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, police chief, public safety director, city manager, and major city Human Resources Communicator, Leonard fully understands each group’s respective cultures and methodologies.
“We want to strengthen the relationship between city managers and police chiefs,” said Leonard. “When CPSM puts on this type of program, we lead by experience: our team members come from both professions so all aspects of local governments and police departments are discussed. The solid expertise the team puts forward makes up the backbone of the workshop. Our goal is to improve the working relationship between the two groups and then focus on the modern challenges of developing better relationships with the community.”
Last year, CPSM hosted several of these workshops on a regional basis. Four new sessions will be held in different locations throughout the country in 2017.