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Common Sense Police Supervision: Practical Tips for the First-Line Leader, third edition.

Common Sense Police Supervision: Practical Tips for the First-Line Leader, third edition, by Gerald W. Garner, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois, 2003.

Common Sense Police Supervision is an outstanding book by an author with in-depth knowledge of supervision in the field of law enforcement. It is a book designed, researched, and written by an experienced professional who presents a functional and applicable approach to the demands of law enforcement supervision.

Unlike in other careers, supervising law enforcement personnel, who have an awesome life-and-death responsibility in their dealings with the public, is not an easy task. In the exercise of effective law enforcement, supervisors bring not only their life experiences and duty performance in different assignments but also their common sense, which requires the application of sound judgment and prudent performance activity backed up with reasoning and logical decision making. This book contains a great deal of common-sense information for supervisors of law enforcement personnel.

In the first two chapters, the author presents what basic law enforcement supervision entails and what a member transiting from the line operation into line or other supervision arenas should know and expect to become an effective supervisor. Chapters 3 through 5 address the need to know ethics in supervision and the qualities of effective leadership characteristics, as well as the educational role that a supervisor must exercise.

The law enforcement leader as an evaluator is critical as outlined in chapter 6 where the author provides sound approaches in terms of guidelines and pitfalls. The next chapter identifies what is important to the supervisor concerning the fair distribution of discipline. In chapters 8 through 10, the author documents the topics of common-sense planning and establishing goals and objectives for employees and follows these with a chapter on the elements, hazards, and benefits of effective communication.

The next several chapters address common-sense aspects of law enforcement leaders, including their role as counselor and complaint processor; how they can deal with special internal problems, such as strife; and their role in community policing, as well as in officer survival. The final two chapters, new to the third addition, also entail common-sense aspects that leaders must know and exercise when representing their agencies on television or radio and when preparing news releases. The author has documented the traps to avoid, while, in the last chapter, he sets forth what it takes to achieve exceptional customer service.

Common Sense Police Supervision applies to the experienced, as well as the newly promoted, supervisor and to those members aspiring to become one in the future. This book covers content applicable to all law enforcement agencies at the town, city, county, state, and federal level. It is an interesting read, and the information proves supportive to the assessment center process.

Reviewed by Major Larry R. Moore (Ret.) U. S. Army Military Police Corps Certified Emergency Manager International Association of Emergency Managers Knoxville, Tennessee
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Author:Moore, Larry R.
Publication:The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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