Question Three:

The Norfolk Police Department is building its future upon the following 5 Guiding Principles: Officer Wellness, being Operationally Sound, creating a Learning Organization, understanding the Strength in Diversity, and building Principle Centered Leadership. As a professional and public servant, how do you identify with these principles and how as the Chief would you continue to emphasize them in the Department?

Candidate C Answer: 

The immediate challenge during any administrative transition is how the culture of the organization will accept the new leader and how I should promote my expectations. Incumbent staff, especially those in a leadership position, may find change to be challenging. Many will question; "What changes are coming?" and "How will this affect me?". My job will be to implement the necessary changes through a smooth transition process. The best means of understanding the environment and the organization is to begin to evaluate its policies, procedures, and training protocols. Equally important is to meet with and discuss the perceptions and needs of those who work in the organization.

The five guiding principles listed above provide a solid foundation to work from in re-establishing trust throughout the organization. I fully support this approach and as a new Police Chief will prioritize them in our future processes.

Officer Wellness is listed of six pillars in 21st Century Policing Strategies and essential to the health and wellness of the department. Providing support and resources for our personnel is leaderships responsibility and will be a priority for NPD under my leadership. In the past [Redacted] years the Executive team of [-] have taken several steps to enhance officer wellness to include the following: hired a full time [-] Wellness Officer reporting directly to the Chiefs office, formed a partnership with [-] and [-] to share peer support resources during critical incidents, sponsored outside training conducted by O2X related to resilience, wellness, and improving sleep, provided [-] additional wellness training opportunities, purchased [-] comfort dogs, created a [-] as a one stop shop for resources and services, and have increased our peer support membership by over 50%. We will offer numerous wellness topics of instruction to police recruits and lateral transfers and conduct Trauma Behind the Badge training [-]. Under my leadership this template will be duplicated in NPD. 

Having an operationally sound Police Department is paramount to providing quality police services to the citizens of Norfolk. The NPD must be well trained and equipped to respond to and recover from critical incidents. Given the current shortage of staff with over 200 vacancies, adding key technologies such as gun detection, integrated camera systems, LPR, all supported by a Real Time Crime Center will enhance our operational capabilities. As stated earlier, I plan to assess the analytical process as a top priority. Additionally, restructuring key positions and civilianizing positions will allow sworn staff to be placed in an operational capacity.

Under my leadership, creating a learning organization will start at the recruit level upon joining the NPD and continuing through their career. As an example, [-]  the [-] announced a [-] education partnership with [-], in which, officers who have completed a [-] would be awarded [-] credits towards a bachelor's degree at [-] with the possibility of an additional [-] credits for prior credits obtained from another college or university.

In addition to the individual degree option, the partnership has established the opportunity for officers to pursue their bachelor's degree through [-]. The [-] will consist of [-], taking classes online, in-person, or a hybrid of both, to complete their degree requirements [-] is offering the [-] option to pursue a major [-] and will include an internship component based on officer's on-the-job experience.

If selected, I would seek similar partnerships with Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, and Virginia Wesleyan University. Additionally, I will create a Professional Development Program for officers who wish to develop their skills through law enforcement training and advanced certificates for assignment to specialized positions.

As mentioned earlier the value of understanding the strength in diversity cannot be overstated. Diversity fosters innovation and problem-solving by challenging everyone to see things from other perspectives. Having a diverse Police Department also ensures that we are attracting and retaining top talent.

Fostering public trust begins with a Police Department that is reflective of the community we serve. Norfolk is one of the most diverse communities in Hampton Roads and having representation from all cultures and races will demonstrate police legitimacy within all communities. My plan to recruit, retain, and promote a diverse workforce will be a multi-pronged approach by leveraging city resources for creating targeted outreach focused on diverse communities, using targeted digital marketing, breaking down language barriers, and unintended language biases. I will establish a mentoring program, job shadowing, and leadership training to ensure equitable access to promotions and preferred assignments.

As I have prepared for this process and opportunity, the one theme that has emerged from the rank and file up and down the chain of command, has been the need to develop those seeking leadership positions by building principled centered leadership opportunities. Author Stephen Covey discusses in his book the Four Levels of Principled-Centered Leadership which are Organizational, Managerial, Interpersonal, and Personal. Police work is not getting easier, but rather more complex, and the demands from our citizens for services are increasing. Critical thinking skills are essential at all supervisory levels and the organization is responsible for educating and preparing current and future leaders. In order for the leadership team to be successful and trusted, competent supervisors must be placed in the right positions within the organization. As the Chief, I will ensure our supervisory staff, command staff, and Executive team is provided with and exposed to professional development opportunities through advanced law enforcement training opportunities such as Virginia Association of Police Chiefs - Police Executive Leadership School, FBI National Academy, Senior Management Institute for Police, IACP training courses, and internal development training.

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