In the 1990’s, the Texas Police Chiefs Association sought ways to improve law enforcement operations in Texas. One result was the creation of the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices Recognition Program. Through this program, Police Departments throughout the state are encouraged to:
Increase educational requirements
Develop a “Code of Ethics’
Develop an effective Internal Affairs and Professional Standards Units
Work with the state agency to develop statewide competencies (TCLEOSE)
Participation in the program is voluntary but carries with it mandatory compliance of 164 Best Practices for Texas Law Enforcement and a 4-year cycle of annual reports and proofs of compliance.
Bringing the Department into Compliance
In 2010, Dickinson Police Department Chief Ron Morales initiated the process of bringing this department in to compliance with the Best Practices criteria. Captain Jay Jaekel was given the task of coordinating the documentation and compliance process. All supervisors and many officers throughout the department provided input, gathered the necessary data, and through their direct efforts, made it a true departmental study. The process involved electronic submission of data and on-site inspections by certified examiners from other departments and the Best Practices organization. The result of their effort was rewarded when on December 21, 2011, the department was notified that it had successfully completed all phases of evaluation and earned the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices Recognition Program Award!
Benefits of this Recognition
While the process involved was long and detailed, the benefits of being a “Recognized” department are multiple. Perhaps the most significant are the establishment and implementation of clear and consistent policies, addressing necessary and mandated training in critical areas, the use of performance evaluations designed to give meaningful feedback to employees, and addressing the use of proper and necessary equipment. Clear policies tell how the department wants things done and minimizes arbitrary decisions. Adequate training in the tools, laws, and procedures that an officer will use in the course of duty address the most acceptable way in which to complete a task and lessen the possibility that he/she will end up as a defendant in a civil court. Required feedback on performance-based evaluations enhances an officer’s ability to improve, to grow professionally, and to document skills / abilities that allow for future professional growth. Finally, with the structure of ‘best practices’ in place, all officers, as well as the community, share a sense of confidence in knowing that each officer has demonstrated competence with the weapons, laws, and tools at his/ her disposal.
Sense of Pride
The Dickinson City Council and the citizens of the community share a sense of pride with the Dickinson Police Department in achieving an important step that reflects the commitment of DPD in establishing and maintaining a positive, progressive, and professional program!