College Planning & Management

FEB 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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Safety & Security PROT EC T ING C AMPUS RESOURCES Quality In – Quality Out Advice on hiring and retaining top-quality campus safety personnel. BY MICHAEL DOR N "I F YOU HIRE BUMS AND train them, all you have are trained bums." I will never forget these words that Dr. Carl Joiner from the Mercer University School of Business told us in my first class for my master's program. Dr. Joiner was not trying to disparage the homeless. Instead, he was simply pointing out that if the hiring process in an organization selects substandard people, all the training in the world would not create top-flight employees. This class was in the nation's first graduate program in quality service management and Dr. Joiner seemed to eat, sleep, and drink customer service. He certainly improved our university, with welldesigned and implemented training programs, surveys of students and employees, and other efforts to improve service delivery. I feel that this concept is especially true for university safety, security, and police personnel. Though some turnover in an organization is healthy, I have always had a strong preference to developing personnel who are part of a team for the long haul. There are some types of experience that you just cannot learn at the police academy, and developing a cohesive team of officers who work well with each other and those they serve can be a defi nite plus. Don't Overlook the Importance of Training This is not to say that training is not important. When I later served as the chief of a school district police department, the training provided to our officers was unmatched by any local or state law enforcement agency in Georgia. We provided an average of six weeks of formal training per officer per year. We had a mandatory annual 40-hour use-of-force refresher program, and our officers fired a different combat handgun proficiency course every month. Our officers were also provided the very best equipment of any law enforcement agency in our region. However, it takes superb employees to make this training and the high-tech equipment we issued effective. While salary and benefits packages, top-quality gear, superb and viable training, and well-equipped patrol cars help to attract good applicants, these benefits mean little if personnel are treated badly once they are hired. A good reputation as a solid department where quality people are appreciated and supported is hard to beat as recruitment and retention assets. 14 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / FEBRUARY 2013 The Value of Good Personnel I recall an excellent police department in my state where it was very helpful to have a master's degree as well as police experience to be selected as a patrol officer. The department changed dramatically under new leadership. The new administration did not seem to recognize the department's personnel as its most valuable resource. The department's reputation as an innovative and progressive place to protect and serve rapidly turned into one of suspensions without pay and terminations. Morale began to sag noticeably and, within just a few short years, officers in the department could earn a $1,500 performance bonus by referring a police applicant from another agency who ended up being hired by the department. I was astounded at how fast one of the best departments in the state dropped in stature and reputation to the point where an officer could receive such a large bonus for talking people into applying for a position as a patrol officer. In the past, officers in the department did this of their own accord, due to the immense pride they had in working for a superb agency. Departments that recognize that their sworn and civilian support personnel are truly their greatest assets are usually great places to work. Campus safety, security, and law enforcement units are no different. Pride, a sense of belonging, and a feeling that what you do as a law enforcement officer are all just as important as salaries and benefits. Some of the law enforcement agencies with the highest salaries in my home state are not places where the best officers want to work and, accordingly, have terrible reputations not only with officers but with the public they serve as well. Dr. Joiner and his colleagues all had practical real-life, highlevel managerial experience to go with their academic credentials. They drilled us with the notion that chief executives manage non-human resources and lead people. They also impressed upon us the idea that quality people are usually an organization's most important and valuable resource. More than 20 years later, I still believe they knew what they were talking about. Quality in still means quality out for safer campuses. CPM Michael Dorn serves as the executive director for Safe Havens International, Inc., an IRS-approved, nonprofit safety center. He has authored and co-authored more than 20 books on campus safety. He can be reached through the Safe Havens website at WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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