About Thomas Engells

Chief of Police and Chief Security Officer at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Joint Agency Police Promotional Assessment Centers: An Opportunity for Interagency Cooperation

The current fiscal environment for many law enforcement agencies requires innovative change in practices and procedures.  While we may not be facing the stark challenges of retrenchment budgeting that were common in the 1980s, today many of us have insufficient budgets to achieve all that we seek to accomplish. A joint agency promotional assessment center may enable multiple agencies to realize the benefits of the assessment center at a substantial cost savings.

Background Brief

Human Resource Management costs are significant in public policing.  As a rule of thumb 70-90% of any law enforcement agency’s budget is committed to some aspect of Human Resource Management (HRM).  These costs have been predicted to grow in the future as a result of any number of factors.  But a common factor in any HRM cost equation is the identification, selection and retention of competent and capable supervisors and managers.

Across the nation, several law enforcement agencies have adopted the promotional assessment center as a defensible and fair tool in the selection of supervisors and managers.  However, as many readers know only too well – a functional promotional assessment is an expensive tool[i].   The costs present in any one of several forms – including the significant time commitment of both the candidates and assessors; the logistical support required for a successful center (video recording, appropriate exercise spaces, and scheduling trained actors) as well as the extensive and intensive planning required for a successful assessment center process. Continue reading

Police Promotional Assessment Centers Selection: Then What?

In small and medium sized law enforcement agencies, opportunities for promotion are periodic at best.  Often years will pass before another promotional opportunity is available.  It is in our professional best interest as leaders to prepare as many qualified individuals as possible for the next promotional opportunity.

In policing, a promotion is not only a personal and professional accomplishment, but a very public marker of a heathy organization.  Promotions are indicative of change and with change can come growth.  But there is risk in every promotional process.  We select those for promotion through any one of several promotion processes with the singular goal of identifying those best prepared to assume the role and responsibility of the next higher rank.

But a question that must be considered is – and then what? Routinely that individual selected for promotion begins an orientation and onboarding process for his/her new role in the organization.  But what about those who are labelled as the ‘not selected’?  What is to come for those men and women who are not promoted? Continue reading