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Want a Promotion? Watch the Textbooks

by Paul Patti

It goes without saying that for officer survival, one of the leading mantras is “watch the suspect’s hands.”

“Watch the hands” of course is excellent advice, aimed at ensuring that you’re not surprised by a sudden move. One of my training officers told me, over three decades ago, similar great advice, “plan for NO SURPRISES.”

What about “career survival” though – what should you be watching? The major textbooks. Watch them closely, keep good track of them, and notice when major revisions and editions are published. When they are, jump on them.

Whether you are a new recruit, rookie or seasoned officer, or are already a police supervisor, if you have a long-term career plan that includes promotion to mid- or upper-management you need to pay very close attention to the leading law enforcement supervision and management textbooks. A few times each year, put aside those crime or mystery novels (or whatever else you are into) and spend some time with one of the major players in law enforcement promotional exams.

This summer has seen three of the top five police promotional textbooks issue not only new editions, but major re-writes and significant updates.

Since 1985, we have preached to our promotional testing clients to drop whatever they are doing and pay very close attention to these top career textbooks. Now, especially, with three major editions and revisions hitting the promotional testing scene all at once, it is certainly some great advice. Whether it is knowledge to help you do your job, help you understand your supervisor, or to prepare you for an actual promotional exam, getting a jump on these textbooks will help you “plan for NO SURPRISES.” The long-term perspective and knowledge you will gain will prove invaluable not only on written tests, but also in structured interviews and assessment centers.

Here are the ones to jump on this summer:

Supervision of Police Personnel – by Nathan and Marvin Iannone and Jeff Bernstein. The long-awaited 7th Edition was just published by Pearson / Prentice Hall. This is by far the most often chosen textbook for corporal, sergeant and lieutenant promotional exams. This edition has major updates and rewrites covering homeland security, Incident Command Systems, enhanced problem-solving methods and contemporary leadership issues including the controversial topic of “situational leadership.”

Recommended Reading

Managing Police Organizations – by Paul M. Whisenand. This leading Pearson / Prentice Hall textbook also is now in its 7th Edition, recently seeing major updating, reorganization and additional chapters. This book very often is chosen for sergeant and lieutenant exams, and sometimes even captain and commander exams. Recognizing the book’s use in mid to upper management, the new edition completely re-writes the material to fit into one of three major sections – Leadership, Management, and Results. Plus, there is a new concentration for this edition with two new chapters, titled “Decisions” and “Performance.”

Criminal Investigation – Swanson, Chamelin, Territo and Taylor. This massive encyclopedia of investigative knowledge just got even bigger with the printing of its 10th Edition by McGraw Hill publishers. This book often appears as supplemental material for testing for corporal, sergeant and lieutenant because of its exhaustive study of criminology and forensics, and of course is one of the major books used by agencies that treat assignment as detective or investigator as a promotion and want a thorough written exam to test an officer’s investigative skills. The list of new material added into this 10th Edition is exhaustive, but the major additions are: Terrorism, Arson and Explosives – Internet Crimes Against Children – Stalking on MySpace and YouTube – Sex Tourism – School Shootings and Human Trafficking.

Rounding out the top five textbooks used in police promotional testing are these two testing favorites;

Effective Police Supervision – Harry W. More and Larry S. Miller – now in its 5th Edition, which was published in the summer of 2007.

Supervising Police Personnel – The Fifteen Responsibilities – also by Paul M. Whisenand – now in its 6th Edition, published in early 2006.

Investing in these top textbooks will better prepare you not only for your future promotional exams, but will help you shine in assessment centers and interviews as well. Keeping up with the material in these books edition after edition is truly a very inexpensive way to ensure your future success in law enforcement.

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