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I am a homicide detective in Ottawa Canada, we currently have a tenure system in place which puts an expiry date on officers in specialty positions, regardless of how competent they are at doing the job. This system has been in place for 5 years now and the purpose was to try to get experienced officers back into the patrol section. What it has created is the lower moral I have seen in any workplace. People are always worried about where they are going next instead of focussing g on their current duty. We are also loosing expertise in certain fields such as forensics, homicide investigations, drug experts, and human source experts. I believe that if an officer is doing the job and doing it well, leave them there unless they ask for change or their job performance is lacking. What this has generated is protections for lazy workers and the supervisors who don't have to supervise anymore.

I understand the perspective of wanting to have mandatory rotations, out of a sense of fairness and broadening the experience base of all officers. However, having a mandatory rotation also runs a real risk of losing the wealth of corporate knowledge that builds up in a unit after a few years of having the same officers working together day-in, day-out. My office does not require rotations; the opportunity to rotate is opened up on an annual basis, until someone is selected for a supervisory position, and then is subject to mandatory rotation. In a previous agency, new hires had a year OJT program and we newbies were rotated through all units throughout the year to get an idea of what they all do. I would suggest a 'journeyman' rotation, temporary assignment opportunity, say, for one pay period, where any officer at full performance level could spend that brief period with another unit. That would give an opportunity for both the officer to get some experience and allow the gaining unit to evaluate whether that officer would be a good fit with the unit should a vacancy come up in the future.

I am totally against the concept of mandatory rotations.  I worked in a suburb in central Ohio.  Our agency did not have a mandatory rotation but a number of other similar sized agencies rotated their Detectives. In working with these agencies I had to continually build new relationships with new Investigators, work with investigators who had little experience, and ultimately the agencies and more importantly the victims suffered.  You can not replace EXPERIENCE!! Keep in mind our job as investigators is to solve the crimes.  It is not to give everyone a chance at a specialized job.  Also, this theory of taking experience back to patrol does not work.  I have seen time after time when someone is forced back to patrol from a specialized position they are usually angry and they become unproductive.   Think about this, a senior officer who has been an Investigator for 10 years is forced back to the street and is sent to a burglary.  The senior officer has done a number of burglaries over the years and there is a crime scene to process.  Now the new Investigator is sent to investigate the burglary and the senior officer say "Here you go, you are the Detective, process the scene."  Who suffers?  The agencies reputation and victim suffer.  Yes, some officers will help the new Detective.  But lets be honest with ourselves.  We know that most officers will not help the new Detective, especially when they were forced from a position they were good at and loved.  Ask your department this.  Why not start rotating supervisors.  After 5 years the Sergeant rotates back to patrol, a Lieutenant rotates back to Sergeant, a Captain rotates back to Lt.  Think of the leadership and EXPERIENCE that would be brought back to patrol :)  No one wants to think about that.  We fail because as agencies and supervisors because we fail to deal with unproductive and problem enployees.  If we document and do our jobs as Supervisors we can get rid of problem employees.  If we rotate a problem employee what did we do fix the problem? Nothing!! We only moved the problem to somewhere else for them to be a cancer to your department. 

All depends...budget / experience / training availability /work load

To blanket a decision is poor leadership. I agree that officers need to obtain experience in other divisions however a shadowing system is better than just mandatory rotation. The new officer coming in might hate the position that they thought was going to be amazing.

Special units are just that- special. They normally are not the ordinary tasks that all department members can perform accurately or safely with normal training. Rotating someone who has years of expertise out of a specialized unit is a morale killer and will negatively affect the productivity of the whole unit.

Some departments attempt to call all or many assignments "special" so they can pick and choose who they want. That is just another method to institute the GOBS (Good Ol' Boy System).

Depending on the size of your agency special assignment rotations are actually a morale booster.  Yes most agencies use the “we are rotating experience back to patrol” motto to justify the moves, but if your officers know what the rotation policy is before they put in for a special assignment, then there should not be a surprise. We use a maximum of 5 years on special assignments with no minimum. Our selection process includes an interview and a committee selection. Officers are invited to shadow detectives to see if they are really interested in the position. Detectives are selected and assigned with the understanding that they will rotate back to patrol within 5 years. The morale booster? Other officers know that the few detective slots will not be locked up forever and there is a chance every 5 years. We try to alternate our rotations so not to have detectives with less than 3 years investigative experience at one time. We rotate a new detective and pair them up with the senior detective.  If you rotate detectives back to patrol and they turn into slugs, they were slugs to begin with. If mandatory rotations causes morale issues in your agency, your agency has bigger problems.



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