Case Study- Police Motivation

Police agencies have the difficult task of not only dealing with the worst of the worst in society but keeping good quality officers within their agency. This task is unique to law enforcement due to the jobs that officers are required to perform on a daily basis vs. other types of careers that to not carry the stress and responsibly of a Police Officer. Supervisors can motivate their officers to an extent, but overall officers need to learn to keep themselves motivated in order to perform to the standards of their agency.

Accountability and Programs

The relationship between the amount of control desired in a police organization and the ability of police officials to create a motivating environment among rank-and-file officers does exist. Police officers need be able to motivate themselves to a high degree. As individuals who chose to go into the Law Enforcement field, these individuals were well aware of what they were getting themselves into. The work load and high standards that Police Officers are required to have is different from any other profession. Supervisors do have a responsibility to create some sort of control within their agency. Police accountability is necessary in order to make sure all officers are performing to the standards of their coworkers and to the standards the agency has created for their officers. Balance can be achieved between supervisors desiring an amount of control and accountability and police motivation. In the case study Captain Frebe implemented several programs that would increase accountability among those officers who were considered “deadwood” (Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas, 2003) These programs included, supervisors monitoring their officers in the field more, officers being required to keep records on odometer readings and to write thorough reports before their shifts ended. Supervisors were also required to write reports on their officer’s performance. The Captain also implemented a quota that officers would be required to meet with the number of tickets they needed to write each month. While Captain Frebe thought the programs he was implementing were going to be best for his agency, he realized after six months that although his programs were working well and the agency had been improving performance wise, his agency was also experiencing a higher amount of absenteeism, Supervisor’s were asking for transfers from the Captain’s district and veteran officers were referring to the Captain as “hard balls” (Stojkovic, Kalinich and Klofas, 2003) Overall the Captain had to create a balance between the positive and negative aspects of his programs and overall the positive did outweigh the negative. His agencies performance increased and for those who were not happy with the programs, they could find other employment if need be.


Captain Frebe had the idea that it was not true that he would not be able to motivate persons in his organization, according to the assumption from the case study. His reason for implementing the programs that he did was to make sure that officers who were doing their job would not be brought down moral wise by those officers who were slacking off. Administrators and managers do have a certain degree of responsibility when it comes to motivating their employees, but as stated earlier, if an individual does not learn to motivate themselves, it is hard for anyone else to motivate them. The only recourse is to put programs into place to be able to monitor the unmotivated to make sure they are at least doing the work to the standards of their agency. Police supervisors have a unique concern in trying to help keep their officers motivated in that the field of Law Enforcement is a very stressful career. Officers often deal with unthankful individuals and situations that are both dangerous and hazardous. Supervisors need to be able to encourage officers to continue focusing on excellence and to provide adequate means of counseling and time off when needed to make sure the officers are at tip top shape during their shifts.


Motivation and accountability can be achieved by all police agencies in a manner that is rewarding to both officers and supervisors. Police officers need to be able to motivate themselves in part due to these individuals being very aware of the career path they have decided to follow. Law Enforcement is a unique field to work in, and motivation cannot always be provided by supervisors. A good police agency will implement accountably programs to make sure all officers are working towards the same goals and that some officers are not getting off with doing nothing during their shifts. Law Enforcement is a tough career but can be rewarding if the right individuals are working in the force.

Stojkovic, S., Kalinich, D.,& Klofas, J. (2003). Criminal justice organizations:
Administration and management (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thompson/Wadsworth.

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