EFFECTIVE DATE: May 1, 2014
DISTRIBUTION: Lawton Police Department
SUBJECT: Promotion Policy for Sworn Police Department Personnel
GENERAL BACKGROUND: A promotion policy for uniformed officers of the Lawton Police Department, who are qualified by meeting certain minimum standards, has been in effect since December 20, 1988. It was last modified on January 24, 2008. The policy needs revision so as to incorporate recommendations of a consultant, the Fidelis Group, LLC, in their report of February 25, 2014. These changes will foster a fair and equitable, more inclusive, and experience-based promotion policy.
The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for use by the Police Department in determining eligibility and selection of sworn members of the Lawton Police Department for promotion. The policy establishes criteria and procedures for promotion to Lieutenant and Captain and provides that the City Manager, in conjunction with the Chief of Police, will establish promotion criteria for ranks higher than Captain.
ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTED PROCEDURE
- General Purpose: These procedures are for use by the Lawton Police Department in determining eligibility of sworn members of the Police Department for promotional consideration and promotion. These procedures involve selecting persons qualified to enter the promotional process. This qualification is attained by meeting certain minimum standards as outlined in detail in this policy. Generally these standards are:
- Meeting a specified minimum time in grade, or equivalent, in the present classification; and
- Successfully accomplishing all assigned training and/or educational requirements for the next higher qualification; and
- Possessing minimum personal health and physical standards.
- All persons who meet the minimum qualifications shall be eligible to enter the promotional process. It will not be mandatory for any individual to enter the promotional process except when less than three (3) individuals (i.e., two (2) or less) enter by personal decision. In the event that less than three (3) individuals enter, then additional individuals will be required to enter until at least three (3) eligible persons are available and competing for each position which is to be filled. Eligible individuals will be required to enter by length of time in their present grade with the most senior being chosen first for the inclusion into the process.
- With the exception of the promotion process to Deputy Chief, the complete promotion process including the required written examinations will commence during the same monthly time period each year so that a new promotion eligibility list will be available and in effect on the date that the previous year's promotion eligibility list expires. The promotional process to Deputy Chief will begin once a vacancy has occurred and the City Manager has authorized this vacancy to be filled with due consideration of the Chief of Police’s operational recommendation.
PREREQUISITES FOR ENTRY INTO THE PROMOTIONAL PROCESS
All sworn police personnel who meet the following minimum requisites shall be eligible to enter into the promotional process:
- Accrued a prerequisite time in the classification to which they are currently assigned as outlined hereinafter for entry into the promotional process. If an individual, has not ended their previous employment with the City of Lawton in good standing with respect to the rules and regulations of the Department, other professional accreditation systems, and/or applicable state or local regulations, that potential candidate will be required to re-enter the system as an entry-level Police Officer. Promotion consideration to the next higher rank may incorporate continuous years of prior service time within the Department or time otherwise served while employed elsewhere as a sworn law enforcement official.
- Each person in a classification to which this promotional process applies must have completed the established training program for the next higher classification prior to the date of any written examination in which they are to participate and be so certified by the appropriate training officer. Failure to receive this certification will automatically deny entry into the promotional system and the taking of the written examination even though their time in grade for competition may be met within the next twelve (12) months as herein described.
PREREQUISITES FOR EACH RANK CLASSIFICATION
All sworn persons within the City of Lawton Police Department who enter into the promotional process, must accrue all the following minimum requisites in classification presently assigned as indicated below:
- Promotion to the Classification of Lieutenant
- A minimum of six (6) years of accomplished service with or without the necessity of presently holding a “Sergeant designation” prior to the date that a new promotion eligibility list is established.
- Maintenance of an overall rating of standard or above on their employee performance evaluation for the last twelve (12) months immediately preceding the date of the written promotional examination with a combined 6 year evaluation showing a progressive trend that is weighted toward the candidates most competitive ratings over the past 3 years of police service. Substitution in illustrating an exceptional record can be demonstrated by the submission of reference letters from other law enforcement jurisdictions, retired senior executives, or civil servants who can personally or professionally attest to the quality customer-service standard, volume and accuracy of work, direct work experience, frequent and continuing public exposure and/or contact, and finally, any service commendations and/or issued awards may be considered that were received during the same active service period as noted above.
- Not received any disciplinary action greater than a written reprimand within the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the issuance of the promotion eligibility list through any certified law enforcement jurisdiction.
- The promotion eligibility list established by this procedure will be used through February. A new promotion eligibility list will be established on March 1, of each succeeding year; except that the existing promotion eligibility list as of March 1, 2014 shall be used during the first full promotion period for the respective year commencing on the date that this policy becomes effective through May 1, 2015.
- Promotion to the Classification of Captain
a. A minimum of two (2) years of accomplished service as a Lieutenant with the Lawton Police Department prior to the date the new promotion eligibility list is established.
- Maintenance of an overall rating of standard or above on their employee performance evaluation for the last twelve (12) months immediately preceding the date of the written promotional examination.
- Not received any disciplinary action greater than a written reprimand within the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the issuance of the promotion eligibility list.
- The promotion eligibility list established by this procedure will be used through March. A new promotion eligibility list will be established on May 1, of each succeeding year.
- The promotional process for Captains will begin once a position vacancy has occurred and the City Manager has authorized this vacancy to be filled with due consideration of the Chief of Police’s operational recommendation.
- Promotion to the Classification of Deputy Chief - Criteria and vacancy availability will be determined by the City Manager at the advice and recommendation of the Chief of Police.
- Promotion to The Classification of Chief of Police - Criteria will be determined by the City Manager, but will adhere to the basic tenants and diversity characteristics of the oral interview panel and processes listed herein.
SEQUENCE OF EVENTS FOR ESTABLISHING THE ELIGIBILITY LIST
FOR PROMOTION TO LIEUTENANT AND/OR CAPTAIN
- The Chief of Police will determine those eligible to compete for vacancies based on the criteria established in this policy. Said names will be posted on all employee bulletin boards including the details of the written promotional test such as date, time and location of the examination, the general subject matter and the location of reference materials. In addition, all future eligibility notification lists should be electronically distributed as a supplemental means of notification to all potential candidates.
Oral Interview Panel Criterion: An Oral Interview Panel shall be held.
- The oral interview shall be administered by the Human Resources Director or his/her designee. In addition, this individual shall act in an oversight capacity for the oral interview panel and shall maintain the final authority over matters relative to coordination, and any other administrative matters not covered by exception throughout this policy.
Oral Interview Panel Procedures and Composition:
- One (1) Captain from the Lawton Police Department who is to be designated as a non-voting panelist by the Chief of Police.
- Four (4) certified peace officers of the same rank being considered for promotion. (i.e. four (4) lieutenants should be selected for a lieutenant's promotional examination, etc.). These four (4) officers of the same respective or equivalent rank shall be from another municipal, county, state, tribal, school, or collegiate law enforcement agency within the State of Oklahoma and should be a minimum of thirty-five percent (35%) of the current staffed size of the Lawton Police Department. Should three (3) or less law enforcement agencies or jurisdictions be identified meeting the above minimum criteria, the City Manager and Human Resources Director shall be consulted to confirm these findings. Upon confirmation by all parties, the City Manager may modify the percentage of size threshold to allow for the Department to meet this external participation requirement.
- It shall be the responsibility of the Chief of Police to coordinate with other municipal police departments for the purposes of selecting suitable external jurisdictions to be seated on the Oral Interview Panel. In addition, the Chief of Police is responsible for identifying the appropriate number of alternate panelists who can attend in the absence of an originally confirmed panel member. However, the Chief shall not request specific officers by name and position from external agencies or jurisdictions to be assigned to the Board. That is to say that the discretion of that respective police department or law enforcement agency should dictate the availability of those selected and who will serve.
- The Lawton Police Department Captain designated by the Chief of Police shall serve as the chairperson of the Oral Interview Panel. The Oral Interview Panel shall make a concerted effort to examine each promotional applicant for at least thirty (30) minutes, but in any event not more than forty-five (45) minutes.
- Each oral interview member shall rate each promotional applicant appearing before it on a 0-100 weighted scale using the designated oral examination appraisal worksheet that has been previously approved for use by the Human Resource Director. In any event, the applicant's lowest and highest rating shall be discarded. The applicant's rating will then become the average of the remaining three (3) oral interview panel member’s combined ratings.
- Each oral interview panel member shall rate each promotional applicant appearing before it on the following categories:
- Work history, assignments, and cumulative experience
- Formal and Informal education
- Qualifications related to the position
- Professional qualities and characteristics
- Interview preparation and presentation
- Interview questions will include but will not be limited to departmental policies, procedures, directives, rules, regulations, legal matters, human relations, and supervision.
- The Human Resources Director, or his/her designee shall verbally notify, each applicant of their oral interview score within a reasonable timeframe following the applicant's oral interview.
Written Examination Criterion:
- A written examination will be conducted biannually, or as approved within the most recent collective bargaining agreement, for promotions to Lieutenant and Captain. The test will be prepared by an outside company that specializes in law enforcement promotional testing procedures and formats; with input from the Chief of Police as to topic areas he/she believes are necessary for the Lawton Police Department. It shall be the responsibility of the Chief of Police, with the assistance of the Human Resources Director, and final approval of the City Manager to identify and select a nationally certified and accredited professional firm to prepare the promotional test in whole or in “modular format” designed to emphasize the operational needs of the department.
- At minimum, the selected firm must be capable of re-evaluating, upgrading, or modernizing the written examination once every five years.
- Each test will be administered in a testing environment mutually identified by the Human Resources Director and the Chief of Police, and/or their respective designee(s).
- A promotion eligibility list will be determined by the numerical average of the written examination score and the oral interview score. The promotional promotion eligibility list according to numerical average will be prepared by the Human Resources Director or designee. In the event of a tie score on the promotion eligibility list, seniority in current grade shall break the tie, i.e. the senior officer in grade shall be ranked higher than the junior officer in the same grade. Each officer completing the promotional process will be advised of their individual score by the Human Resources Department after the promotion eligibility list is established. The final promotion eligibility list shall be prominently displayed in a common location that all department personnel can access.
- Any sworn personnel who are on either the promotion eligibility list or the Top List [discussed below] and receive any disciplinary action greater than a written reprimand shall become ineligible for promotion and shall be removed from the respective list.
- As vacancies occur throughout the year, the following shall apply:
- When an initial vacancy occurs in the rank of Captain during the term of the promotion eligibility list, the list referred for evaluation [aka the “Top List”] will be a list of the top three (3) Lieutenants from the top of the promotion eligibility list.
- When an initial vacancy occurs in the rank of Lieutenant during the term of the promotion eligibility list, the list referred for evaluation [e.g. the “Top List”] will be a list of the top three (3) candidate positions from the top of the promotion eligibility list.
- The Chief of Police and Deputy Chiefs will meet and evaluate each individual referred in the Top List.
- This evaluation will be completed each time a vacancy occurs, thereby causing a re-evaluation of individuals not promoted to the first vacancy each year. The Chief may obtain input from ranks that are senior or equivalent to that of the respective officer rank being interviewed meaning that the Chief of Police can discuss qualifying factors and/or working knowledge of a prospective Captain candidate with an existing Captain, but it is not appropriate to discuss this topic with an existing Lieutenant. In all cases, the topics for consideration and discussion, where appropriate, should be limited to the traits and characteristics identified in subsection 4(a).
- The aforementioned evaluation should be conducted with strong emphasis placed on the following demonstrated abilities, tenants and/or characteristics:
- Leadership - These characteristics are generally observed in leaders of all disciplines.
- Personal/Professional Motivation
- Command Presence
- Personal Appearance and Professionalism
- Continuing Resolve and Persistence
- Self-development and Preparedness
- Willingness to coach, mentor, and/or empower subordinates
- Participation in Community Programs
- Qualifications and Performance
- Volume, Quality and Accuracy of work
- Comprehends instructions
- Positive work habits
- Positive attitude toward the Department
- Excellent judgment with the ability to quickly assess demanding situations
- Attendance and punctuality
- Outstanding job knowledge
- Acute safety awareness
- Exceptional planning and organizing skills
- Sustained level of effort in job performance
- Current firearms qualification
- Presents and/or delivers quality verbal and written reports
- Continued learning both formal and informal
- Specialized workforce-related training
- Past performance evaluations, official commendations and/or awards
- Resume with applicable reference letters
- In determining who to recommend for promotion, the Chief of Police will give weighted preference to the highest ranked candidate on the Top List presented to the Chief. However, the Chief may recommend a lesser ranked candidate from the Top List provided the Chief has a rationale for recommending the lesser ranked candidate (i.e. experience, education, demonstrated leadership, etc.). The Chief will advise in writing any higher ranked candidate who is not recommended for promotion of the rationale for the non-recommendation.
- The Chief of Police, when making a promotion recommendation, will recommend in writing in order of highest to lowest ranked preference, to the City Manager one of the competing individuals from the Top List for promotion. The correspondence must include compelling objective justification to support the recommendation. Also, if a lesser ranked candidate is recommended, the correspondence will include the Chief’s rationale for recommending the lesser ranked candidate.
- The City Manager is the final authority for selection and promotion; however, it is dually noted that the Manager’s decision is heavily weighted on the professional expertise, advisory recommendations, and qualified opinions of the department’s management team, up to and including, the Chief of Police.
- If a second vacancy occurs in either the rank of Lieutenant or Captain during the term of the promotion eligibility list, this second vacancy will not cause an additional candidate to be added to the Top List from the promotion eligibility list. Rather, the remaining two candidates on the Top List will be the candidates competing for the second vacancy. If, however, additional vacancies occur (three or more) in the Lieutenant or Captain ranks during the term of the promotion eligibility list, an additional candidate will be taken from the top of the promotion eligibility list and added to the bottom of the Top List for consideration at the time the additional vacancy occurs. This procedure will be done each time an additional vacancy occurs. Additionally, if at any time the Top List has only one candidate remaining on it [for example a candidate is removed due to discipline, or retires/resigns], an additional candidate will be transferred from the top of the promotion eligibility list to the bottom of the Top List so that there is always at least two candidates on the Top List.
- The Top List for Lieutenants shall be valid until a new promotion eligibility list is created for Lieutenant Candidates, at which time a new Top List of three candidates will be created from the new promotion eligibility list. Likewise, the Top List for Captains shall be valid until a new promotion eligibility list is created for Captain Candidates, at which time a new Top List of three candidates will be created from the new promotion eligibility list.
RESCISSION: This policy is effective May 1, 2014, and will remain in effect until rescinded. This policy supersedes Administrative Policy 11-1 dated January 22, 2008.
DEPARTMENT: Police Department
April 1, 2014