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CACP 2017

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I n December of 2000, under the guidance of then CACP President Larry Gravill, the Police Futures Group released its study "Police Executives under Pressure: A Study and Discussion of the Issues" ("the Study"). At the time of its release, the Study led to serious discussion in the policing community about the public and internal challenges facing police leaders. But that was then and this is now. Has anything changed in the last nearly 20 years? The underlying issues facing police executives in 2000 primarily remain the same in 2017 such as media attacks, police association clashes and challenges with police governance. One significant difference between then and now is the use and power of social media. The use of the internet and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter would create a forum for criticism and opinion that was never experienced two decades ago. The pressure generated by this form of instant public commentary on the actions of police executives is a reality. In 2016, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) undertook extensive research with police executives on critical issues in policing. Issues were identified in the PERF study that were similar to those documented by the Police Futures Group. Building trust and collaboration were seen as key considerations across the board. Have we progressed in understanding and alleviating pressures experienced by police leaders? The pressure has continued. It's time to continue the conversation. POLICE FUTURES GROUP The Police Futures Group was led by Director Tonita Murray in a partnership between the Canadian Association of Chief of Police, Canadian Police College and the Canadian Association of Police Services Board. The Police Executives Under Pressure Study was authored by Fred Biro, Peter Campbell, Paul McKenna and Tonita Murray. The purpose of the study was to assess the pressures faced by police executives; the reasons for the pressure; to describe its effects and to propose solutions. The Study identified police executives as being subjected to intense media scrutiny, criticism from police associations and their own officers or the withdrawal of support of their governing bodies. The study identified 55 cases out of a total population of 350 police chiefs or nearly 500 deputy chiefs with a view to determining any common factors or trends. Some of the executives survived while others resigned or failed to have contracts renewed. The 55 cases were identified mainly from news media accounts and analysed for common factors. Of the 55 cases, 25 executives agreed to be interviewed by the Police Futures Group. Interviews also took place with police associations, middle managers and police governing bodies. FACTORS GENERATING PRESSURE FOR POLICE EXECUTIVES The Study found that the factors generating pressure for police executives included personal, internal and external considerations. It was understood that controversy and media scrutiny would come with the position of chief of police. That understanding did not ameliorate the stress of the public attacks and scrutiny. The factors generating pressure were ranked by the highest number of incidence to the lowest and included: • Being hired from an external police service; • Conflict with the police association; 67 CACP 2017 Annual Review STRATEGIC PRIORITIES POLICE EXECUTIVES UNDER PRESSURE By Lynda Bordeleau, CACP General Counsel

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