Thursday, February 16, 2012

Superintent Devon Clunis Wades in the Debate

Police feel lack of manager support

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS - Superintendent Devon Clunis. Development Support, Winnipeg Police Service. Supt. Clunis is the Chaplain and one of the highest ranking officers in the city. 10-12-23
A national study on ethics in policing says senior managers should show more support for officers who work under them.
The study, which was released by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), included feedback from more than 10,000 officers from 31 services across Canada, including the Winnipeg Police Service.
Authors Stephen Maguire and Lorraine Dyke of Carleton University found "most police officers are very familiar with their police service's values and really care about the reputation of their agency."
However, the study also suggested senior managers could learn to "demonstrate greater support for employees."
The study was done through an online survey completed by thousands of officers, from the rank of constable to staff sergeant.
"A number of questions suggest that police officers do not believe that the organization or its senior managers take an interest in their concerns. Lack of support is related to reduced trust and lower commitment to the organization's success. To enhance support, police agencies need to communicate their concern for employees' well-being, solicit employees' input on decisions affecting them and provide support for employees' goals," said the study, which is called the Professionalism in Policing Research Project.
It's billed as the first of its kind for its examination of "ethics and professionalism in Canadian police forces."
The typical respondent to the study was a white man older than 40; women made up 19 per cent of the sample. The study found ethics training for officers was "almost universal," with 93 per cent of officers who responded saying they'd received some.
Maguire also said there was a "very strong" response about organizational commitment, such as those who are "willing to do extra work and engage in helpful behaviours."
However, the study also said "over 40 per cent of respondents disagreed that the organization cares about their opinions, considers their goals and values, cares about their satisfaction or cares about their well-being" -- a finding Maguire said he found "quite surprising."
"When I was doing interviews across the country, it's quite clear to me that they do a lot for their employees. They have gyms... they have a very good response to critical incidents, they provide support and psychological counselling if it's necessary.
"They really do support people when they may be exposed to a critical incident," said Maguire, the acting director of the Centre on Values and Ethics at Carleton.
"On the other hand, in terms of just general support, do they listen to them? Do they take into account their values? Do they encourage developing their people? The responses were not as good."
Senior management can be "tied up with operational concerns," Maguire said, which can mean not "communicating very well their appreciation for what people are doing in the trenches."
Maguire didn't provide the number of Winnipeg Police Service officers involved in the study Wednesday.
Supt. Devon Clunis of the Winnipeg Police Service said city officers receive ethics training as recruits, as well as when they become field training officers or if they're promoted into supervisory roles.
The WPS is "very supportive" of its members, he said.
"I speak from personal experience that the members of our service are highly ethical individuals who serve in the best interest of the public," he said.
"No organization is perfect, but I can say with confidence that we strive for that perfection when it comes to operating in a moral and ethical framework."

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