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DCG Articles
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Off-Duty Marijuana Use by Police Officers

Matt Dolan, J.D. November, 2022 Last week, voters in two states approved the legalization of recreational marijuana.  Missouri and Maryland have joined what is a growing number of U.S. states in which recreational marijuana is legal.  While North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas voters rejected legalization measures, it is striking to recognize the sheer number […]

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Weathering the Storm in Police Staffing?

The recruiting and retention of qualified law enforcement officers continues to be a struggle for most law enforcement agencies. In many agencies, it has reached a crisis level. Many blame the current hiring and retention struggles primarily on the decline in public support for the police, fueled by biased media coverage and exploited by politicians and activist groups. Obviously, these conditions have not helped police recruiting and retention, but other root causes of the problems run much deeper and are, in many ways, more troubling in the long-term.

Matt Dolan, J.D. Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
IA Investigators and Organizational Change

Law enforcement agency leaders across the country are recognizing that “business as usual” is not a viable option moving forward.  Adapting to a shrinking pool of qualified applicants and increased personnel turnover, navigating changing community expectations and re-evaluating how officers are hired, trained and led are all challenges that must be faced head on.  But […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Should We Require Cops to Have College Degrees?

As part of the ongoing national conversation around police reform, many are calling for a college degree requirement for officers in agencies and states where such a requirement does not currently exist. These calls reflect a widespread belief that a university education is likely to result in improved conduct by law enforcement officers. But is […]

Richard R. Johnson & Ph.D. Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
The Role of First-Line Supervisors in Internal Affairs Operations

In many law enforcement agencies, fundamental operational tasks are often assigned exclusively to a relatively small number of officers who do not have the resources to accomplish their objectives without help from others throughout the agency.  Recruiting, for instance, should be an agency-wide undertaking in which all officers see themselves as playing an important role […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Does Verbal De-Escalation Training Work and What is the Evidence?

Activists and politicians are often quick to demand specific changes in police practices before there is firm evidence to support the effectiveness of their proposals. A prominent example is found in the call for “de-escalation training”, despite the fact that there are many different (and sometimes conflicting) definitions of what “de-escalation training” actually means. As […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Retraining Cops after Two Years of “Wait and See” Neglect

About two years ago, in the Spring of 2020, newly hired police recruits were about to begin their all-important field training program.  They were ready to put their academy training to use in the field.  But the one-two punch of COVID-19 and the “no contact, no complaint” mentality that permeated the profession in the wake […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Negligent Hiring Liability for Law Enforcement in 2022

In the months ahead, law enforcement agencies will be struggling to fill vacant positions in an extremely difficult recruiting environment.  Beyond the labor shortage that appears to be impacting countless professions from nursing to transportation to hospitality, law enforcement vacancies seem particularly difficult to fill.  This is true not only because of the rigors of […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for First Responders—Employee Rights and Management Considerations

Across the nation, government employers are issuing COVID-19 vaccine mandates.  These mandates range from requiring either a weekly negative COVID test or a vaccine, to a zero tolerance vaccine mandate as a condition of continued employment.  Further complicating matters is the fact that different local governments seem to be accepting medical and religious exemptions to […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
The “First Do No Harm” Model of Policing

In 1829, Sir Robert Peel famously put forth his nine principles for policing which has served as a model for representative democracies throughout the world.  The First Peelian Principle, crafted by the creator of the Metropolitan Police in London and the man often credited with being the father of modern policing, simply states that “the […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
The 2020 Homicide Spike—Beyond the COVID-19 Explanation

Elected officials, journalists and some police chiefs have been offering possible explanations for the sudden and historic jump in homicides seen in cities across the country in 2020.  Most of these explanations point to the increased mental and economic stress brought on by COVID-19 and its related government restrictions as substantially contributing to the spike […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Considering the Military Model for Recruiting and Retention in Law Enforcement

For the last several years, law enforcement agencies have struggled with the challenge of recruiting and, just as importantly, retaining qualified officers.  This problem was exacerbated for years by a healthy economy in which higher paying jobs were seen as a threat to recruiting and retention efforts.  In recent months, the greater threat to recruiting […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Resiliency for Public Safety Professionals in 2021

This has been an unprecedented year—a pandemic with the associated lockdowns, an economic recession, protests, riots, rising violent crime in most major cities and a bitterly-contested national election. Public safety professionals have responded to increasing numbers of calls for domestic violence, suicides, drug overdoses, and rioting. Police, fire, and EMS personnel have been harmed in […]

Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) Read More
What Does Verbal De-escalation Training Actually Mean?

There has been much argument and political rhetoric used recently involving demands for police reform. One of the reforms mentioned frequently is the demand for “de-escalation training” for police officers, or the need for the police to “de-escalate” more.  What, however, does this really mean? To some it appears that “de-escalation” means the withdrawal of […]

Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) Read More
We Need Retired Cops Running for Elected Office

In recent months, the important role of elected officials at all levels has been made painfully clear for law enforcement officers, for their families and for those citizens who support their mission. When elected officials—particularly at the local or state level—fail to stand up for the basic principles of law and order, communities can quickly […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
A Recruiting Boom for Small Town Departments?

In cities across the country, elected officials are publicly scapegoating police officers for all of society’s ills. Many are insisting that racially motivated police brutality is the greatest threat to their citizens, even when the facts to support such an assertion are strikingly and shamefully absent.  Many are advocating that police departments be de-funded as […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Cops Need a Contract with Their Communities

Contracts are vital when it comes to matters of greatest importance in our lives. Buying a home, leasing a car, entering into a business partnership or even entering into a marriage—all of these involve different types of contractual agreements. As an attorney, I am wary of handshake deals and those who shy away from “putting […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Historic Professionalism by Cops on the Front Lines: Taking a Moment to Assess the Progress of American Law Enforcement

Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.)In the last several days, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers across the country have been subjected to unrelenting verbal abuse and physical assaults.  Early on, many sustained injuries as they were attacked with rocks, feces, water bottles filled with urine and other objects that have been hurled their way […]

Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) Read More
Preparing for a Hiring Frenzy in Law Enforcement

Over the past several years, there have been common refrains from law enforcement leaders and the recruiters tasked with filling the ranks of law enforcement across the country. In an era of low unemployment and plentiful job opportunities in the private sector, why choose a career in law enforcement with the stress, danger, and public […]

Attorney Matt Dolan & Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
How Do Cops Choose Their Specific Departments?

It is widely known that many law enforcement agencies today are struggling to recruit qualified applicants to fill their law enforcement officer vacancies. In previous articles, we have completed a detailed examination of the factors that led existing law enforcement officers to pursue their careers in law enforcement. In short, most officers were drawn to […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. & Matt Dolan, J. D. Read More
Recruiting Cops Who Will Stay

Law enforcement agencies invest a great deal of time and money into each individual they hire as a law enforcement officer. As a result, having the ability to identify individuals who are likely to voluntarily resign their employment after a few years or even months would be extremely useful. If it were possible to identify […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
Racial Profiling or Bad Research? Why We Should Stop Using Census Data

Public opinion surveys reveal that the vast majority of Americans believe that use of racial profiling by the police is widespread.[1] This is deeply disturbing for two reasons. First, it is disturbing because it undermines police legitimacy among the vast majority of our citizens. Second, it is disturbing because the vast majority of law enforcement […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Where Can We Find More Qualified Applicants?

Many law enforcement agencies across the nation have recently reported increasing difficulty in recruiting well-qualified individuals to serve as law enforcement officers. Their recruiting efforts are often targeted at criminal justice students in college, and military veterans. While there is nothing wrong with utilizing these two pipelines for qualified applicants, the fact that these methods […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D and Matt Dolan, J. D. Read More
The Need for Empathetic Verbal De-escalation Training for Healthcare Professionals

Most everyone within the healthcare field has encountered verbal hostility from patients, the family members of patients, or other staff members. However, have healthcare professionals been trained how to handle these situations with empathy, professionalism, and tact? While the significant attention directed toward maintaining the technical or clinical skills of medical staff is necessary, the […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Threats to Surviving This Job

Law enforcement is one of the most difficult, stressful, and dangerous careers an individual can pursue. The threats to your life, however, come from more sources than the knives and guns of criminals. In fact, less than 20% of the law enforcement officers who died over the last three years died as a result of […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D Read More
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Developing Organizational Performance Leadership