Best Practices Guide for Developing a Police Department Policy-Procedure Manual
By Chief W. Dwayne Orrick, Cordele, Georgia Police Department
This guide has been designed to assist police agencies in smaller communities with the development and revision of their policy-procedure manuals. The policy and procedures manual is the foundation for all of the department’s operations. When properly developed and implemented, a policy-procedure manual provides staff with the information to act decisively, consistently, and legally. It also promotes confidence and professional conduct among staff. Service delivery by agencies in smaller communities is often more responsive than departments in larger communities due to knowledge of the community and partnerships within the community. In addition, officers working in smaller agencies must be prepared for the same challenges and situations as their colleagues in larger organizations. The only real difference between large and small is the degree of specialization in job assignments in smaller departments. Smaller agency officers are generalists, often seeing the case through from start to finish. Because of this, officers in smaller departments are provided more latitude to perform their jobs and are not locked into the same routine every day, allowing for more growth job enhancement and satisfaction for the employees of these departments. Therefore, policies and procedures for smaller agencies must be as thorough and complete as in their larger counterparts. The remainder of this guide will focus on the process of developing a manual in smaller departments. It will explore the general rules for developing policies, how to form a policy committee, sources of information how to organize the manual, steps for writing a policy, implementing a new policy, and for compliance inspections.