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DCG Articles
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Why Professional Appearance Matters for Senators and Cops

On September 28, after a much-publicized move away from a long-held unwritten dress code on the U.S. Senate floor, a bipartisan reaction resulted in the unanimous passage of a formal dress code.  Over the course of the preceding days, some Senators had signaled support for allowing casual attire on the Senate floor, prompted, in large […]

Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) Read More
Should Non-Citizens Be Cops?

  The shortage of qualified applicants for sworn law enforcement positions has become a crucial problem, and shows no signs of improving in the coming years.[i]  Due to declining birth rates since the early 1970s, the percentage of the U.S. population that is entering the workforce continues to decline.[ii]  Obesity in America is on the […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. and Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
Drones as a De-Escalation Tool for Law Enforcement

Over the last several years, there has been intense public attention focused on police use of force, especially lethal force.  The attention has come with demands that the police exercise greater use of de-escalation techniques before implementing force.  While some activists, politicians and journalists may have unrealistic expectations that de-escalation techniques will eliminate all uses […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Read More
What Cops Can Learn from Mother Teresa

The officer morale issues plaguing law enforcement agencies across the country in recent years have been well-documented.  Rank-and-file officers, and those tasked with leading them, often experience a profound sense of futility in the face of the addiction, mental health issues, homelessness and criminality that cops face every day.  The challenges that they face in […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Negligent Hiring Liability for Law Enforcement in 2023

Over a year ago, we at Dolan Consulting Group published an article entitled Negligent Hiring Liability for Law Enforcement in 2022.  Unfortunately, 14 months later, the cause for concern in this area has only grown.  More and more conversations we have with law enforcement leaders involve concerns about lowering standards in order to hire “warm […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Read More
Managing Civilianization in Law Enforcement

The shortage of qualified applicants for sworn law enforcement positions shows no signs of improving in the coming years.[i]  As many agency leaders begin to adapt to lower staffing numbers, difficult conversations are taking place around the continued viability of sworn officers performing jobs that could be done by civilians with less training and at […]

Matt Dolan, J.D. Richard R. Johnson Ph.D. Read More
Time to Get Back to Work in Policing?

De-policing (the practice of field personnel pulling back from proactive policing activities) has been on the rise across the nation since the fall of 2014, primarily in response to negative media attention and political protests targeting the police.  In the wake of anti-police sentiments and protests, some law enforcement officers and agencies made the intentional […]

Richard R. Johnson, Ph.D. Chief Harry P. Dolan (Ret.) Read More
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
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Developing Organizational Performance Leadership