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Predicting and Preventing Problem Employees


Predicting is virtually the same as preventing.


Chief Paul Schultz is 40-year law enforcement veteran with 20 years of experience as a police officer with the Thornton (CO) police department retiring at the rank of Commander. Chief Schultz has been a Police Chief for the past 20 years and has served as Chief of the La Vista (NE), Lafayette (CO) and Canon City (CO) police departments and was the former Director of Peace Officer Standards and Training for the State of Colorado. He is a graduate of the FBI LEEDS, LEEDA and Command College training programs. Chief Schultz holds a Master’s Degree in Administration of Justice from the University of Colorado and teaches criminal justice courses at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and at Regis University in Denver, CO. He may be reached at pckschultz@aol.com.


By Paul Schultz


20 work traits at the same time, but it was common to observe a minimum of three prominent negative work traits simultane- ously and in some employees even more. The sidebar lists the 20 identifi ed work traits that future problem employees exhibit. A critical part of identifying these negative work traits and trying to turn the situation around involves fi rst line supervisors. The fi rst line supervisor must be able to objec- tively identify these negative work traits and take documented defi nitive steps with man- agement to correct these defi ciencies. Providing quality training to supervisors to be able to do this is the fi rst step. After


n 2014, the Canon City Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol teamed up to identify work traits of employees prior to them becoming Prob- lem Employees and then to develop strategies to inter- cede and prevent the employee from sliding into the abyss of becoming a permanent problem employee. Through a series of meetings with supervisors and manag- ers from each agency, we jointly identifi ed 20 work traits that were common to police offi cers who were on their way to be- coming problem employees. Not all employees exhibited all


the employees have been identifi ed who are exhibiting the negative work traits, a clear plan of action must be developed and undertaken in a timely manner.


A thorough review of the work history of the employee with the employee’s past two or three supervisors and the appropriate division commander is critical to developing an effective intercession plan. After negative work traits have been identifi ed and hopefully the reasons for these negative work traits have been determined, then a meeting with the employee is scheduled.


Is the officer willing to take on new roles? Show personal growth? Become a department instructor?


60 LAW and ORDER I July 2015


Is the officer community oriented? Does the officer have any community involvement either on-duty or off-duty?


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