Motivating Police Officers To Serve And Protect


The current proposal focuses on the idea that Heritage PD could significantly benefit from the use of motivating factors when approaching police officer productivity and the quality of interactions with the public. Based on the research from the Metropolitan Police, it was found that various promotions and achievement recognition efforts might be the most tangible ways of motivating officers to perform better. Thus, the current proposal is expected to improve interpersonal relationships and individual satisfaction of police officers. There is a significant need for fair treatment in Heritage PD if the team expects to motivate police officers via recognition and acknowledgment.

The Problem

The problem with motivating police department personnel revolves around the fact that many staff members might be willing to do the bare minimum necessary to protect their job. It is a negative factor that forces numerous issues with productivity and ethics (Wolfe et al., 2022). Police officers should be trained to overcome the “us-versus-them” mentality and turn into a community asset that is ready to serve and protect. The feeling of inconsequentiality should be fought in order to help police officers develop internal motivation and a much more positive attitude toward the world around them. The problem is that it is hard to witness the worst in local citizens and then motivate the officers to protect the people who tend to hate the police. Even the most dedicated officers could face such issues over time due to burnout and lack of motivation. The administration should be on a constant lookout for strategies to limit negativity and focus on beneficial law enforcement practices (Chanin & Welsh, 2021). The proposal is going to explore the possibility of using intrinsic rewards and other types of motivation to restore productivity among police officers.

The Solution

The primary factor that has to be pointed out when looking for a definite solution related to law enforcement and intrinsic motivation is the level of awareness that the administration should maintain. Police officer productivity tends to fluctuate uncontrollably because of consistent cases of officer burnout and excessive use of force (Magnusson, 2020). Therefore, the idea for the proposal should be to develop a program that could maintain a certain level of motivation among police officers. Starting with an ethical desire to serve the cause and protect the community, the Heritage PD could enhance the state of affairs by reducing the contagiousness of demotivation. Despite some of the officers being able to point out their lack of motivation individually, various staff members could overlook duty assignments and ignore interdepartmental transfers (Morrow et al., 2019). Therefore, it should be crucial to focus on the potential of motivating police officers through intrinsic instruments, such as recognition and praise. These two would be expected to elicit the willingness to perform in all of the police department staff.

An improved attitude would mean a lot for demotivated police officers because their self-esteem would enhance gradually. Police supervisors should pay attention to the context of the program and deploy it when coordination efforts are perceived as the most appropriate. Yet, it will be important to take care of reasonable recognition and awareness sessions in order not to leave police officers with an inadequately inflated self-esteem (Morrow et al., 2021). The program should become a distributed motivation effort aimed at reducing the amount of stress usually experienced by local police officers. The second crucial element would be to develop a positive organizational environment to limit the number of internal variables that negatively affect employee motivation. Under harsh leadership, police department staff might not be able to carry out all of the predefined responsibilities and resolve managerial problems (Morrow et al., 2021). Overall, the lack of adequate motivation and management could lead officers to perceive activities involving other police officers as worse than interacting with criminals.

The ultimate issue with addressing police officer motivation in Heritage is the lack of positive attitudes. The task for the management would be to lead by example and remain motivated and productive regardless of the scenario at hand (Magnusson, 2020). Even though the idea of leading by example is rational and tangible, the team should remain cognizant at all times in order to maintain the physical and mental wellness of available police officers. It should be universally recognized that even the existing recruit training program should revolve around personal achievements and community benefits that have been achieved. The stress level experienced by police officers will be mitigated via physical training and awareness-raising theoretical sessions with the most prominent police leaders. An improved level of well-being would make it significantly easier for administrators and supervisors to take control of the training and education process (Chanin & Welsh, 2021). Therefore, police officer motivation enhancement is a common goal that has to be addressed by the whole team, with 360 feedback being collected to propose further improvements.

The Evidence

Police officer training presupposes at all times that the person in question does not have to be forced to subordinate and complete the given assignment. When a supervisor assigns a task to a police officer, the former should be ready to step in and complete it themselves if something goes wrong (Wolfe et al., 2022). In other words, the idea of a person leading by example works best with police officers because effective time and resource management pave the way for standardized expectations among the subordinating staff. Within an environment where leading by example is a normalized attitude, police officers will be able to grow professionally and personally while gaining the trust of community members. Productive leadership should be considered at all times in order to have the police department administration foresee the potential impact of its initiatives (Morrow et al., 2021). The ability and willingness to adhere to higher standards would eventually mediate mediocre performance from some of the police officers.

The next important finding is that various training efforts work best within organizations where officers are perceived as human beings in the first place. According to Clifton et al. (2018), effective supervisors should possess a great deal of empathy to understand the issues their subordinates could experience daily. The increasing level of stress and its impact on performance and motivation simply cannot be overlooked when it comes down to showing empathy. A person’s experience and feelings contribute to a certain state of their physical and mental health. Thus, leadership should be paired with compassion in order to create enough room for reasonable improvements in the field of police officer motivation. One way to achieve a better balance would be to focus on the work-life structure and engage the least motivated officers in activities outside of the job (Morrow et al., 2019). The increasing flexibility of administration-employee relationships would enhance subordination and strengthen the ties within the team.

Another set of evidence that has to be included in this discussion is the link between police officer motivation and various reward systems. Hence, big successes should be just as important for the team as smaller ones (Chanin & Welsh, 2021). In addition to yearly awards and officer-of-the-month recognition, the administration should compensate officers for smaller achievements. This kind of personalized celebration would create additional means of motivating subordinates while keeping them happy and ready to serve the local community. In line with Demirkol (2021), the quality of police officer services depends drastically on the intangible rewards they could achieve upon accomplishing their missions throughout the shift. In turn, it will increase the level of productivity and loyalty to the organization attained by police officers in Heritage.


Employee evaluation should become a central activity for the Heritage PD administration in order to ensure that organizational behaviors will be altered when necessary. Training evaluation should be based on Kirkpatrick’s four-level model so as to implement the framework to achieve certain outcomes. The four elements of the model are reactions, learning, behavior, and results (Morrow et al., 2021). The reaction variable would represent the emotional response displayed by officers toward the program. The learning variable in Kirkpatrick’s model stands for the declarative knowledge of police officers regarding motivation and interactions with citizens. The use of the behavior variable presupposes the existence of skill-based outcomes that would transpire under the influence of respective training. Job-related performance should remain central to the Heritage PD because of the need to examine the use of force in terms of frequency and the overall strength of the force being used. The results variable has to be included in the discussion to see if police officers eventually affect the whole organization and do not just improve their relationships with the public (Wolfe et al., 2022). The whole agency should transform after the implementation of the proposed solution.


Chanin, J., & Welsh, M. (2021). Examining the validity of traffic stop data: A mixed-methods analysis of police officer compliance. Police Quarterly, 24(1), 3-30.

Clifton, S., Torres, J., & Hawdon, J. (2018). Whatever gets you through the night: Officer coping strategies after the high-profile line of duty deaths in Dallas and Baton Rouge. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 43(4), 871-885.

Demirkol, I. C. (2021). The Role of police occupational culture on Officers’ job satisfaction and work motivation. International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, 45(4), 357-375.

Magnusson, M. M. (2020). Bridging the gaps by including the police officer perspective? A study of the design and implementation of an RCT in police practice and the impact of pracademic knowledge. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 14(2), 438-455.

Morrow, W. J., Vickovic, S. G., Dario, L. M., & Shjarback, J. A. (2019). Examining a Ferguson Effect on college students’ Motivation to become police officers. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 30(4), 585-605.

Morrow, W. J., Vickovic, S. G., & Shjarback, J. A. (2021). Motivation to enter the police profession in the post-Ferguson era: An exploratory analysis of procedural justice. Criminal Justice Studies, 34(2), 135-155.

Torres, J., Reling, T., & Hawdon, J. (2018). Role conflict and the psychological impacts of the Post-Ferguson period on law enforcement motivation, cynicism, and apprehensiveness. Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology, 33(4), 358-374.

Wolfe, S. E., McLean, K., Rojek, J., Alpert, G. P., & Smith, M. R. (2022). Advancing a theory of police officer training motivation and receptivity. Justice Quarterly, 39(1), 201-223.