How do WE Measure Success?

I have always believed that “policing,” like any other profession should constantly strive to improve how they operate. In the case of policing, that would include:

  • Instilling a sense of safety within the community
  • Protecting persons and property
  • Reducing crime
  • Being accountable for our actions
  • Treating people fairly
  • Training
  • Utilizing technology to improve efficiency, and
  • Updating policies and procedures as needed

In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders, Franklin Covey suggests that before beginning a project, the participants should “Begin with the End in Mind,” which means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination.

Questions concerning the recent push for operational changes within “policing:”

  1. Who is in charge of making / vetting the suggested changes? Who should be held accountable for the success or failure?
  2. Are ALL stakeholders being included in the conversation?
  3. What is the “end” the stakeholders have in mind?
  4. How do WE measure success? How difficult will it be to measure success?
    1. Fewer use of force incidents?
    2. Fewer complaints made against police officers?
    3. Fewer people shot and killed by officers?
    4. Fewer traffic stops?
    5. Lower crime rate?

If any of the listed success measures resonate with you, how will you determine what caused the change? Was it better training for officers, was it a change in policy and/or procedure, or was it officers being less engaged (fewer citizen contacts), etc.


Without a clear chain of command, without input from ALL stakeholders and without a clear “end in mind,” it will be difficult and/or impossible to measure success, which will result in a continuous cycle of frustration for ALL the stakeholders, i.e. citizens and police officers.

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