With costs of budgeting constantly changing plans always have to be made and revised yearly to keep up with the constant changes. No reputable agency is exempt from this constant change, not even local police departments. Strategic planning is a local police department’s greatest tool in budgeting its finances for the year that does more than crunch the numbers. Strategic planning accounts for goals obtained in reasonable time-frames that focus on bettering the service provided by the local police department for the people they serve.
Complicated in itself, strategic planning can be difficult to understand and implement without first understanding its basic components. Breaking it down to its simplest definition strategic planning is a document used by the law enforcement that documents the yearly goals, and a guideline of how each goal will be obtained, and in what time-frame (Flores, 2019). For any detailed plan to work the goals must be highly detailed, prioritize goals listed, have a realistic time-frame, and estimate the budget the department will have in order to complete the listed goals. For a police department, this means taking into account the budget local law enforcement has creating goals that would be prioritized taking into account if a goal has a limited time-frame for completion, increases police effectiveness, and the implementation of a new police program (Flores, 2019).
Why it is Important for the Police
While some police departments work effectively keeping crime down making long-lasting changes through singular decision making, others rely more on strategic planning to keep the police department moving in the direction that benefits the community. Local police agencies, especially small ones with limited resources, rely on the strategic plan made through meetings conducted by high ranking members of a local police department discussing neighborhood trends as they relate to current and possible future issues the police department will face (Ashland Police Department, 2018). By focusing on trends, current issues, and future trends it is possible to formulate goals the local law enforcement should address, the priority of each goal, as well as determining the time-frame in which the goals should be completed by. Before making any final decisions on the goals that will help make long-lasting changes for the community one last factor is added into the police strategic planning stage. The local law enforcement must take into consideration their current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities that may stem from changes the goals will make, and direct threats to the local law enforcement (Ashland Police Department, 2018).
A strategic action plan, although directed towards the community, has a responsibility to hold the local law enforcement accountable for the safety of its members by addressing concerns that pose a risk to the officers themselves. police officers face risk on a daily basis that could put their lives at risk. For this very reason, any strategic plan made assess the threats the local law enforcement face to determine how best they can be minimized and eliminated for the safety of the officers. The weaknesses and strengths of local law enforcement are also incorporated into the police strategic planning to take note of what is already being done well, what needs to be improved and amending any goals that may work to address the weaknesses of the local law enforcement. With all of the discussed factors that go into a strategic plan, it is important to remember that all these factors go into the strategic plan for the sole purpose of creating a plan on how the local law enforcement will better the community by obtaining set goals while working within a limited budget. Local law enforcement, even when efficient, do not always have the manpower to be as effective in protecting the community as they could be. That is why a strategic plan is necessary for local law enforcement to ensure they are able to protect the community as best as possible while working within their financial limits.