Selecting a Police Chief is easily one of the most important decisions a city manager can make. The role is critical to the safety and quality of life of a city or town. Demands on police departments has escalated in recent decades along with concerns about procedural justice and fairness. No other municipal department has so much at stake, consumes so many resources or carries with it the potential for large liability exposure. Hence, getting the selection right is critical for a community’s success.
The Chief Selection Advantage is an innovative and structured approach to greatly increasing the chances of selecting the right person for this critical role. We are not recruiters. We do not suggest who you should interview or choose. Instead, we perform a thorough assessment of the community’s needs for law enforcement service and the current state of the police department in order to develop tools to systematically narrow down the applicants based on identified needed capabilities and attributes. We then produce a full day assessment center to test for those qualities and skills using trained raters. The results inform the city manager’s decision with far more relevant information than the standard recruitment relying on a paper screening of resumes and multiple interviews.
Since 2006 representatives of ICMA and IPMA-HR have served as members of the Advisory Committee Board of the Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative (LELI). This project was funded by the Department of Justice to identify the core competencies required to be a successful police chief. After participating in this project for several years, it became clear to ICMA & IPMA-HR that the current processes that most city managers and HR Directors use to select police chiefs were not meeting the needs of their communities. Too often the standard recruitment results in a selection process that does not clearly identify the true skills and abilities needed for the chief of the particular community to succeed. In discussing these issues with members of our respective professional associations, we identified an alternative strategy to offer to our members.
Building upon past joint efforts, ICMA and IPMA-HR entered a partnership, with the goal to provide assistance to local governments in the chief selection process. These two premier associations selected as their technical advisors the Pittman – McLenagan Group, a highly-experienced leader in the testing and selection field.
This CPSM / IPMA-HR / PMG alliance is not a traditional recruiting / selection consulting firm. As stated, we do not recruit candidates or participate in rating or selecting candidates. We do not create “short lists” or in any way interject our judgment into the selection process. We believe that the local governments are capable of conducting sophisticated selection processes if they have the tools and professional expertise available to them which our alliance can provide. That is the Chief Selection Advantage.