The e-newsletter of the COPS Office | Volume 3 | Issue 3 | March 2010

Transferable Experiences:
Learning from Private-Public Partnerships

Editor’s Note:  A panel discussion on this topic will be presented at the Police Executive Research Forum Annual Meeting next month.  See COPS on the Road for information on the meeting’s location and dates.

Private-public partnerships have become increasingly common for law enforcement agencies and private businesses.1 Both the public and private sector share a common goal of a safe community, which increases quality of life for residents and attracts a strong workforce and customers for business. However, a less common but promising practice has law enforcement executives using those partnerships to learn from their private sector counterparts about how to streamline business processes, attract talent, and manage their organizations effectively.

On February 2–3, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the COPS Office and Target held an Executive Session on recruitment and retention, organizational change, and leadership development. This event was sponsored through the Target + BLUE program, in which Target supports law enforcement’s efforts to build strong and livable communities.2 The primary participants were law enforcement chiefs and corporate executives from Fortune 500 companies.

The main topics were creating a more effective recruitment and hiring plan, developing strong leadership in mid-career employees, and changing organizational culture. Discussion focused on areas such as attracting a multigenerational and diverse workforce, overcoming an organization’s historical resistance to change, and using internal training programs to enhance leadership development. In addition, Dr. Aks Zaheer, chair of Strategic Management at University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, drew attention to examining the culture of change through attitudes, behaviors, and transparency.

Overall, each session emphasized the importance of developing value-added and authentic partnerships between police and private organizations. A framework for building these kinds of partnerships is being developed for a forthcoming publication, which will also include summaries of the executive session.

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