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Performance Evaluations and Goal Setting for Chicago Cops

Posted by Kathi Chenoweth on August 13, 2008


The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Chicago police officers will soon be subjected to performance evaluations. While reading this article, I had to double-check that I wasn’t reading The Onion.

The reason for implementing the evaluations? It seems there is a concern that due to the rise in violent crime, police officers are less able to focus on less serious crimes.

“Because cops are focusing on violent crime, arrests have slipped for less serious crime like disorderly conduct, trespassing and public drinking, Cuello said. Arrests for violent crimes do not seem to have fallen as much, she said.”

Well, this seems understandable, doesn’t it? Officers are arresting the violent criminals. These are the ones we want to be arrested. It seems OK to me to let the public drinkers get a pass? I mean, sure, I’d rather not have to deal with the drunk guy yelling obscenities at me, but I prefer that to, you know, being murdered.

I’m trying to imagine their goal setting process. We’ve all speculated about the traffic ticket quotas which may or may not exist. Imagine adding quotas for other types of arrests. “Arrest 20 trespassers and 10 crazy naked guys running on the street per quarter”

Anyway I see this problem in another light. It’s really a problem of succession planning. Violent crime is up. Petty criminals are being “promoted” to the serious crimes. Yet they haven’t groomed a successor. Perhaps this is due to declining gang activity, which may also be a problem that needs to be addressed. Until the criminal community properly ensures a continuous flow of crime, of ALL types, not just the violent ones, the Chicago police officers’ evaluation system is doomed to failure.

Or, I don’t know, maybe the goal should be REDUCE CRIME and not INCREASE ARRESTS? Just an idea.

3 Responses to “Performance Evaluations and Goal Setting for Chicago Cops”

  1. Meg Bear said

    well at least these can be SMART goals, arrests are certainly measurable ;-)

  2. Louise Barnfield said

    Hey Kathi, thanks for the smile!
    …and this is because “We should be accountable to the citizens of Chicago.” In which case, do you think their performance evaluation process will provide for external reviewers, to benefit from honest 360 feedback? Hmm, I guess they’ll be sending questionnaires to a random selection of both law-abiding citizens and inmates, right? I’d love to see those rating levels and responses! :-)

  3. [...] are implementing Performance Management solutions, aligning goals and tracking [...]

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