What Does Creativity in Law Enforcement Mean and How Does it Drive Alignment?

We think of law enforcement agencies as organizations where strict adherance to procedures and policies. If that training and process are not followed, bad things can happen.

With the law enforcement agencies we work with, they work very hard at this and communicate such tactical information continuously.

However, creativity can have a real impact on how law enforcement agencies fulfill their mission which usually centers around practicing law enforcement in a manner that enhances the public trust. Creativity can manifest itself in small items that help sworn and non-sworn staff do their job more effectively as well as in larger policies and initiatives.

For example, with one of our clients, the Anoka County (MN) Sheriff’s Office, they’ve implemented processes that have helped in areas both large and small. You’ll find that communication flows through these two examples, also. The two are really intertwined because creativity that doesn’t get commuincated doesn’t see the light of day.

Making crime scene work easier and more effective

Anoka County’s Crime Scene Unit gets involved with gathering of evidence at crime scenes. Many times, they get down and dirty to do their jobs. However, they had previously wore the same uniforms as other sworn staff. If a scene required them to put on gear that would prevent contamination, they’d have to put a suit on top of a full uniform.

The staff felt developing a new uniform that would allow them the flexibility to move around a scene, get a little dirty if needed and make it easier to get into and out of clean suits would allow them to be more effective in their jobs. The team worked on ideas and brought their ideas to leadership.

Obviously, the idea was a no-brainer. Funds to obtain the new gear was located and the ideas were implemented as soon as possible.

Obviously, being able to effectively, and cleanly, gather evidence at a crime scene helps deliver justice. Officers don’t have to worry about this one item and can focus on doing a great job at their craft.


Determining a new pursuit policy

In the Minneapolis area, where we’re from, bad consequences from high-speed pursuits have been top of mind. One assailiant crashed his car into a playground full of young children trying to get away from officers.

The Sheriff’s office recognized they needed to look at their policy and determine if they needed to make any changes to how they handle such situations. As the patrol function is the primary group that is involved in such situations, it’s logical to think they would be the ones setting up the new policy. However, the Office included broad leadership and administration into the discussion. As Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart said to me, “The creative ideas and perspectives brought forth by people from multiple roles and ranks, including outside of our Patrol division, brought clarity to our discussion and our final product. Without their help, the policy wouldn’t be as good as it is.”

Modifying this policy has a direct impact on their mission and helps their officers maintain a balance with law enforcement and public safety.

Just like in other organizations, creativity can have a strong impact on processes and results in law enforcement. Are you, as a Sheriff or Police Chief, setting forth a culture that encourages creativity and communication in line with your mission? If you aren’t sure, you may want to take a longer look at how cretivity can have a big impact on your teams.