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Resources: Supervisor's Field Manual Checklists

The Supervisor's Field Manual checklists are designed to help the first-line field supervisor in making decisions on critical tasks and to ensure that subordinates act consistently and according to established policy.

Checklists such as these provide task-specific direction to operational officers. Because they are task-specific, they ease the training responsibility. Everything in life is training. These checklists are no exception. With easy access to the tasks related to procedures, officers will refer to procedures more often, discuss them, use them and therefore make more timely recommendations for changes. They hold the operational officer accountable, but they also hold administrations responsible, ensuring current real world procedures. Additionally, with the use of the accompanying computer disc, the lists are easily updated and changed.

Presumably, the field supervisor will have the occasion to refer to the checklists as a relevant situation develops, such as a major arrest or intervention at a domestic dispute. Some items on each list are posed as questions. Usually, the questions are posed in the past tense because they refer to necessary preconditions or prerequisites to carrying out the actions specified in the remainder of a list. The other statements, made in the present tense, are designed to help the supervisor direct subordinate personnel in making key decisions and carrying out key functions.

In some events, it will be impossible for a first-line supervisor to refer to a given checklist as the situation unfolds, such as during a shooting. In such a case, the supervisor can best use the checklist to review the actions undertaken and ensure that all required tasks have been performed.

It is impossible for the checklists to cover every circumstance and address every conceivable task. The checklists have been designed to include the tasks most commonly performed under each topic. These lists are not absolutes. They must have fit to each individual agency and jurisdiction depending on practices and statutorial differences. To ease the transition to a specific agency's need, a computer disk has been provided in order for an individual agency to alter and customize these lists as needed. The lists are currently available in Microsoft Word, Version 7.0 and WordPerfect, Version 6.1.

Note that blank spaces have been provided for the agency to add references to governing policies or orders or legal codes. The checklist must tie closely to the requirements of an agency's policies. Agency-written policy must reflect field practices and vice versa. If not, the agency invites severe performance and liability pitfalls.

Note, too, that each checklist is headed by a policy statement. This statement must reflect the agency's policies on given topics. The presence of the policy statement is to continually remind the field supervisor of the agency's mission, philosophy, and values for each topic.

Finally these checklists presume that the field supervisor already has a firm command of his or her agency's policies and procedures.

Download The Supervisor's Field Manager Checklist (Microsoft Word format)