We are fortunate to have the best talent, experience, and resources available in the law enforcement arena. Through the understanding and development of these areas we will utilize them in the most productive and beneficial way possible to make the Greenville County Sheriff's Office the premier law enforcement agency in the country.
In order to look back and know we have accomplished our vision we must build on the strongest foundation possible. Everything that is accomplished at the Sheriff's Office must be built on a strong foundation. If the foundation of our agency is not solid then we will all miss the mark of reaching our goals, both personal and professional.
If you are or have been a recent employee of the Sheriff's Office then you know what I am speaking of. Concentration and efforts on building a strong foundation is the most crucial part to making our vision a success. We cannot live and work in an environment that breeds negativity, pessimism, laziness, and a lack of communication. We must expect more from each other and ourselves. We must also hold one another accountable for our actions.
Ways of strengthening our foundation:
- Instill pride in the Sheriff's Office. (See Environment)
- Eliminate areas for employees to complain. (See Environment)
- Develop strong lines of communication. (See Communication)
- Build overall experience at the Sheriff's Office. (See Hiring)
- Build experience within Uniform Patrol. (See Operation)
It is no secret that any relationship is subject to failure without good communication. This is also true in work relationships. Communication is at the center of everything we do in law enforcement. We must foster ways to be great communicators. We cannot expect to effectively communicate with the community if we have problems communicating with one another on a work level.
Ways of improving communication:
- Implement small meeting groups that brainstorm and develop the most efficient ways of meeting daily, weekly, and monthly goals. These groups can range from the deputies on the road to command staff personnel.
- Provide monthly updates to all personnel on what is developing within the Sheriff's Office. This can range from vehicles, equipment, training, community projects, and other topics discussed in command staff meetings. This is a great way for everyone to receive the same information and quell the "rumor mill".
- Have units work in overlapping divisions. (See Operations)
The majority of law enforcement spends as much time with their coworkers at work as they do their own families. As the old saying goes, you are a product of your environment. It is important that time spent with one another is that of positive reinforcement and that our attitudes are encouraging for one another.
The environment that is created can form bad morale. Bad morale is poison that causes damage to an institution that will eventually lead to failure. Lack of direction by leadership, the rampant rumor mill, the disconnect between ranks, and the lack of respect between ranks can all lead to bad morale.
Ways of improving environment conditions:
- Instill pride: For many officers the choice of a law enforcement career comes through a calling to serve others. It is important to remember this while striving for a successful career. No one can be expected to come to work in a perfectly ironed uniform and shiny polished boots and get in a vehicle that has faded paint and decals. No one can expect to walk into a block building to work and walk down halls that are eerily similar to that of the jail and expect to feel proud about where they work. Our walls should be lined with history of the Sheriff's Office and there should be visual reminders of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their community. We should be able to walk into the building and have an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that we represent something much bigger than ourselves.
- Fairness: It is crucial that the "good ole boy" system is removed and a system developing hard work and fairness takes its place.
- Eliminate rumors: There is never a prize awarded to the person who first knew of something happening and spreading it around as if there was a great prize to win. Rumors fly around constantly and a lot of energy is spent on people thinking of the possibilities of those rumors and where they may fit in. Almost all rumors that are spread around are based on mere speculation with no factual basis whatsoever. We must realize this and not waste valuable time on negative or fictitious rumors. Also it is vitally important that the leadership does not allow areas for rumors to develop. By informing all employees in a standard way of Sheriff's Office business and addressing issues as soon as they develop through fast effective communication this should quell the majority of rumors. Imagine the progress that would be made if the time spent on rumors and negative energy was spent on positive development toward personal and professional goals.
- Mentoring program: Professional growth often times occurs during personal growth. There is a vast variety of life experience at the Sheriff's Office. I believe that instituting a mentorship program will be productive for both professional and personal growth. This would be strictly a volunteer program.
- Promoting ideas: It is important that everyone has the opportunity for input into the progression of the Sheriff's Office. Many employees have great ideas that would allow for progression of our agency but are often times never heard. The employee feels if they run their ideas up the ladder they will be taken by their superiors and presented by their supervisors as their (supervisors) ideas, as often times they are. This destroys the desire for employees to express their ideas, as they would not receive "credit" for it. The idea of having a non-supervisor meeting may sound good to some but in reality it does not foster an environment for ideas. Often times ideas are not presented because supervisors want to know what questions an employee is going to ask or what idea they may bring up in the meeting. Also many ideas come and go in between the times of these meetings. A process would be implemented to allow a submission of an idea to go directly to the Sheriff along with the employee's supervisor for review and consideration of the idea. This would also ensure that the employee would receive "credit" for their contribution. This process would be available at all times.
- Side jobs: By design of the job most of the better paying positions also have better working hours. When a new deputy starts their career path they are often times starting a new personal path (new home, marriage, and children). It is a financial struggle for those deputies in these positions. Often times upper management get the first choice of side jobs. This is morally wrong and unacceptable. An employee at the rank of Captain and above would not be allowed to work a side job unless required by policy.
- Employee appreciation day: Often times our immediate family never has the opportunity to meet and get to know our extended law enforcement family. I believe it is extremely important to the families to be exposed to fellow co-workers in our profession, even if it's only once a year. This would be a time to gather for relaxation without the daily pressures and stresses of the job. This time would allow your families an insight and understanding to the personal sacrifices they make on a daily basis.
As stated in our vision having a GCSO brand would assist in the overall success of the Sheriff's Office in many ways. Effective marketing and Sheriff's Office success will lead to a long line of law enforcement applicants that will want to be a part of GCSO. This is another way of building a strong foundation.
Ways to maximize marketing potential:
- Offer the best working conditions and working environment possible.
- Provide superior training in all areas of the job to include advancement in rank.
- Unconventional marketing methods such as cars and community programs.
- Use of social media.
High turnover rates deplete the overall function and effectiveness of having success. The time and money lost from training and developing new deputies when they quit is substantial. These high turnovers force the front line personnel to tighten up their bootstraps and work harder with less back up assistance available. It depletes resources in many areas that could be better utilized for other purposes.
We need to do less hiring by creating a great work place that people wait to come to and consider themselves fortunate to be a part of. It is important to find people that have a vested interest in wanting to serve our community. This is accomplished through incentives, great working environment, marketing, effective operations, a strong foundation, and a positive vision.
Ways to improve hiring:
- Develop a partnership with local colleges that have a criminal justice program to maximize development of future applicants.
- Provide an extensive and productive internship program.
- Appeal to experienced certified law enforcement officers through marketing and incentives.
People are willing to work for less compensation if they are happy and committed to their job. As everyone getting in law enforcement knows, you do not do it for the money. This should not stop us from providing incentives and seeking additional incentives. We should not limit any possibility to improve working conditions for anyone. By providing incentives we allow for more interest in our agency and the desire for people to stay and be a part of something special.
Types of incentives:
- Shift pay differential: Many officers work the majority of their careers rotating shifts, night shifts, and holidays leaving their families while sacrificing valuable memories. They should be compensated in some way.
- An incentive to entice a deputy to stay at the Sheriff's Office for their entire career is important to retention and the ability for the Sheriffs Office to function at its fullest potential. A monetary bonus for years of service would be a great way to incentivize people to remain employed at the Sheriffs Office.
- Having access to unmarked, unconventional, and slick top cars are both incentives and assets to the enforcement of our job.
- A fitness incentive is vital to both the deputy's health and their ability to successfully perform their jobs. Deputies should be compensated for improving their health and performance as it directly relates to their job.
Instituting a system for promotion and transfer is crucial for many reasons. Everyone must know that if they work hard and stay dedicated to their job they have the potential to advance and transfer to areas of interest. By having a fair system in place it also eliminates complaints about a "good ole boy" way of doing things. It should not be about who you know but what you know and how hard one is willing to work to control their destiny.
One should feel a great sense of accomplishment after being promoted. This process should be one that is more difficult then a 10 minute interview and should give those completing the process a great deal of pride and accomplishment. One's experience, longevity, and annual evaluation should play a direct role in the scoring of the promotion process. There is currently no incentive for an employee to strive to receive a higher evaluation, as there is no merit pay increase based off performance. A point system for receiving a higher annual evaluation to go directly toward the points earned for one's consideration for promotion will add incentive for one to work hard to receive a higher evaluation and not just the bare minimum needed to take a promotion board.
Ways to implement a fair system for promotions:
- Implement a written test for the initial phase of the promotion process.
- After successful completion of the written test have an in person interview with a panel from law enforcement personnel outside of the Sheriff's Office.
- A point system will be in place to provide points based on experience, longevity, and the employee's annual evaluation. This point system will also include scores from the written test and interview for final score.
- Based off the total number of points the top placed candidates direct supervisors would be interviewed by the Sheriff, Assistant Sheriff, and Majors (at least 2) for final selection.
It is important for all members of the Sheriff's Office to stay in tune with the primary function (Field Operations) of the Sheriff's Office throughout their career as many things continually change. It is also important that everyone has an opportunity to advance in rank and serve in a desired position. By promoting individuals and leaving them in place it limits movement and forces individuals to be stuck in a certain position without the hope or opportunity of a desired position.
Ways to implement a fair system for transfers:
- All personnel meeting the requirements for transfer would complete a transfer request to be approved by their immediate supervisors.
- After the approval each candidate would have an interview with the supervisors for the open position. This would consist of a Sergeant and Lieutenant for a Master Deputy transfer position and a Lieutenant and Captain for a Sergeant transfer position.
- A point system similar to that of the promotion process would be used in the selection process. After the top two candidates were selected they would each be given a period of one month to serve in the open position to be evaluated by the immediate supervisor for final selection. This would also apply for deputy transfers.
Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another. This is certainly true in the case of mentoring one another and it also holds true in law enforcement in the area of training. We have many deputies that have received specialized training in a certain area and have a vast amount of experience. Many of these deputies are also instructors. Some travel to other agencies across the state of South Carolina and the US to instruct courses while we have not even had them educate and instruct our own deputies. It is important that we do not miss any opportunity to train our own.
Ways to improve training:
- Design and institute training by our personnel in specialized areas by training all deputies in these areas and continue to hold training annually for new employees.
- Design and institute training for all positions of promotions. It is important that a supervisor be trained in the proper areas of management and personnel matters. It should NOT be a situation where someone is promoted and expected to know how to supervise without any formal training.
- Conduct scenario-based training on a quarterly basis.
In order to provide the most productive and beneficial service possible to the community we must allocate manpower in areas that are most effective and in a manner that is most efficient. It's not just a matter of additional manpower it's about the effective use of existing manpower.
People should not have to wait and wait and wait for law enforcement response. First responding deputies should not have to be continually rushed to get to the next call for service and not have time to conduct a thorough investigation or provide great customer service.
As this relates to the primary investigation it also relates to the secondary investigation. Typically if a serious crime occurs that requires an investigator to respond after normal business hours there is a long wait period for contact to be made and the investigator to arrive. Not only should people not have to wait extended periods of time, especially when a serious crime has occurred, but the investigation should not be delayed by inadequate scheduling because time is of the essence when dealing with these types of incidents.
Manpower should be placed and structured in a way to support Field Operations and keep them available to immediately respond to calls for service without delay. Criminal Investigations, Judicial Support Services, Selective Support Services, and Special Operations would be structured to provide this support.
Ways of improving manpower:
- Restructure to add (5) additional deputies to each platoon in Uniform Patrol.
- Implementation of a Quick Response Team. (See Operations & Services)
- Implement an Investigative Patrol Unit that supports primary platoons. (See Operations & Services)
- Create a permanent follow up unit within Field Operations that is staffed by the Investigative Patrol Unit.
- Implementation of front desk personnel program that eliminates the rotation of experienced deputies.
- Add (2) vice/narcotics deputies to each primary platoon. They will be responsible for interviewing all drug related arrests during their shift and conducting immediate follow up investigations when necessary.
- 2nd shift personnel from Criminal Investigations and Judicial Support Services to provide quick response and personnel during high call volume hours. (It is important to note that 2nd shift personnel would be placed on a rotation that would require 3 to 4 weeks a year working this shift. It would also eliminate the amount of call outs while off duty drastically).
- Implementing response teams within specialized areas that would assist in all areas of investigation to include identifying, locating, and apprehending a suspect. An example would be an immediate apprehension team assigned to Judicial Support Services that would respond to assist Criminal Investigations and Field Operations with the apprehension of a suspect once an offender has been identified.
Operations & Services
Operations and Services encompass all working areas of the Sheriff's Office. All Operations and Services must maximize its functions to fulfill its duties while collaborating with one another to accomplish the overall goals of the Sheriff's Office.
Breakdown of Operations & Services:
- Field Operations
- Uniform Patrol (primary platoons)
- Investigative Patrol Unit: This unit's primary responsibility would be to assist Uniform Patrol by responding to major crimes, perimeter searches, and other incidents where the primary platoons have several deputies allocated to the incident. This would allow for Uniform Patrol units remain available as first responding units. The IPU would also conduct follow up investigations with in Field Operations. They would also be responsible for conducting proactive investigations.
- Quick Response Team (QRT): This team would be available during high call volume hours to respond to major crimes involving violent acts, execute search warrants, and support K-9 deployment, and any other situation where special tactics, weaponry, and training are needed without the use of deploying the entire SWAT team.
- SWAT team
- Bomb Squad
- Property Crimes
- Community Relations
- School Enforcement
- Immediate Apprehension Team: This team will respond early in an investigation of a serious nature when a person of interest or suspect has been identified to locate and apprehend them at the earliest opportunity.
- Fugitive Team
- Prisoner Transport/Extradition
- Family Court
- General Sessions
- Warrant Service Unit
- Family Violence
- Cold Case
- Armed Robbery
- Economic Crimes
- Auto Theft
- Missing Person
- Crimes Against Children
- Sex Crimes/Registry
- Computer Crimes
- Office of Professional Standards
- Emergency Management
- Training Center
- Public Affairs
- Crime stoppers
- Technical & Intel Services
- Safe Communities
- Supply/Property Control
- Financial Manager
The word community has become diluted as it relates to law enforcements role. Many agencies believe if you create a community service division that you are effectively addressing and partnering with the community. This could not be any further from the truth. This creates a mindset that only those working in community services are community deputies when in fact we are all community deputies.
Many of our efforts concentrate on enforcement. As important as it is to provide our community with the best enforcement possible it is also equally important to serve the community in other ways. We need to use our platform to partner with churches, schools, and businesses to build a strong community relationship.
Our efforts should be focused on local needs for our citizens. Every deputy will be expected to contribute on some level to ensure that the Sheriffs Office does its part in developing a strong community. It is important every deputy understands the importance of being connected with the community through service. This provides a great deal of gratification for the sacrifices each deputy makes doing their job. It gives a deputy an opportunity to see the positive side of their job and not just the negative side. These efforts also assist in the growth of a deputy's overall customer service and attitude.
Ways to build a strong community:
- Implementation of Local Outreach Programs (examples)
- Boot camp: Conducted during summer for juveniles 13 to 16 years old. This would focus on educating and mentoring youth about choices and developing a positive law enforcement relationship. Time would be spent touring facilities, guest speakers, and fun activities for the juveniles. A ceremony at the completion would be held to recognize their participation and completion.
- Day camp: Conducted when school is out for children ages 5 to 12 years of age. This would focus on kids being able to see Sheriff's Office vehicles and tools up close and participate in some fun activities with deputies. This would be used in an effort to form a bond between younger kids and law enforcement.
- Develop an educational course for schools that would like to participate in the education of law enforcement services for their students.
- Partner with businesses and churches to host carnivals to be available with materials and deputies to speak with the public and answer questions.
- Elderly citizen contact program.
- Partnering with social programs (domestic abuse, homeless, guardian ad litem, etc.) to determine how we can effectively assist one another.
In closing I would challenge each one of you to reflect on a few questions. These are all questions I had to ask myself.
- Is law enforcement a calling for you?
- Do you use your position to serve others?
- Do you want to have a meaningful career or just go through the motions?
- Do you invest in others and hold others accountable?
- Are you contributing to the negative or positive mindset of the Sheriff's Office?
- Do you want to reflect on your career when you have retired and know that you had a tremendous impact on leading and setting the standard for all those in this profession, knowing you have left a legacy behind?
- Are you ready to be a part of something special?