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Case Study: Chief Ralph Cummings
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Case Study: Chief Ralph Cummings

Ralph Cummings has been the chief of police for two years in a community that has a population of 83,751 in the southern part of the state. The department has an authorized strength of 105 full-time sworn police officers.

Chief Cummings is anxious to fill a new position that calls for a lieutenant, and the incumbent of the position will function as the home defense expert for the department and liaison with other agencies. For three years, federal funding will be used for this new position, and then it will become a regular budget position. The city has a nearby nuclear power plant that could be a prime target. The new lieutenant would work out of the chief’s office. This position is not covered by civil service, and the chief had the authority to promote whoever he chose, subject only to the advice and consent of the mayor. But rather than doing this, the chief wants to promote someone off of the lieutenants list.

After a very careful review of the situation, Chief Cummings concluded that Raymond Charles, a 12-year veteran, was the best person for the job. Sergeant Charles was an amiable, energetic, and capable man with excellent investigative skills. He is a natural leader with a strong commitment to the department. Charles was always a go-getter and respected by departmental members. He was number one on the eligibility list that had been in place for two years. As far as the chief was concerned, he really had no alternative but to offer the position to Sergeant Charles. All the time that Charles had been with the department, he remained in the local National Guard Unit, assigned to a military intelligence unit located in a nearby metropolitan area. He currently holds the rank of Major. The chief felt that he and Charles were simpatico and would complement one another.

After securing the mayor’s authorization to fill the vacant position, Chief Cummings asked Sergeant Charles to stop by his office. They exchanged pleasantries and then the chief told Officer Charles he would be promoted to the rank of lieutenant effective the first of the month. Much to the chief’s surprise, Charles declined the promotion. The chief did everything he could to get Sergeant Charles to change his mind, but the sergeant maintained he was simply not interested in functioning as a staff person and wanted to remain in his position as a field operations sergeant, supervising 15 evidence technicians. Charles enjoyed responding to various crime sconces involving homicides, sexual assaults, officer-involved shootings, and armed robberies. He said he would rather be operational and not work in an office. Additionally, he pointed out that he was heavily involved in his National Guard assignment. He thanked the chief, left the office, and returned to work.

Chief Cumming’s was surprised—actually shocked. He felt Sergeant Charles was not being loyal to the department. He felt that Sergeant Charles should “stand up and be counted” and decided where his loyalties were. Although he was unhappy with the situation, Chief Cummings promoted another officer on the promotion list.

The chief’s unhappiness with Sergeant Charles led to him being transferred to a less desirable position in field operations. Over a period of time, Sergeant Charles became increasingly dissatisfied with his job. He became a chronic complainer. Poor morale reduced his performance and led to increased absenteeism and an increased effort for his National Guard assignment. Charles found himself in a box and never worked at a level above average.

Describe the motivations that are present in this case. What actually happened in this particular situation? What assumptions did Chief Cummings make, and why did he become so upset with Sergeant Charles? If you were the chief of police, how would you deal with an officer who does not seek promotion per se as the preferred path to job satisfaction and/or career advancement? What position would you take when officers want to remain in a National Guard or Reserve position? If you could, would you support a policy that would prohibit police officers from serving in military units? Why or why not?

Case Study: Captain Edith Strong




Review the Rubric and Handouts under the Week 1 Recommended Reading - Handouts stream

Review the Captain Edith Strong case study in Ch. 6 of Organizational Behavior and Management in Law Enforcement.

Write a 700- to 1,050-word paper that answers all the case study questions that follow.

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

Click the Assignment Files tab to submit your assignment.

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