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Confronting the Toxic Officer

Confronting the Toxic Officer

  • Matt Dolan
    Attorney & Director, Dolan Consulting Group, NC
  • Livestreamed, N/A
  • May 2, 2024
Course Length:
  • 1-day
Registration Fee:
    • $250.00 for the first attendee – $125.00 per each additional attendee



Every law enforcement officer—like any human being in any profession—has bad days at work.  But it is the small number of chronically toxic officers who generate the overwhelming majority of stress and frustration for fellow officers, supervisors and police administrators.  An agency’s toxic employees can often be such a distraction from the agency mission that supervisors seem to spend more time dealing with the internal issues generated by toxic officers than they spend focused on improving agency operations in the field.

If not confronted, toxic behavior by these “few bad apples” can prove deflating to the morale of their fellow officers in light of agency leaders’ apparent inability to hold them accountable for their actions.  And the liability in the court of law and the court of public opinions created by toxic officers is made worse if it is shown that they were widely known to be seriously problematic but were never adequately confronted by agency leaders.

This training will introduce law enforcement leaders to strategies for confronting this small but extremely damaging presence in the workforce in a way that both protects the integrity of the organization and is legally defensible.  Ensuring that these management techniques are legally defensible is particularly important because, in many cases, toxic employees tend to be perpetual plaintiffs who file baseless grievances, complaints and lawsuits throughout their careers as they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

Recognizing the Toxic Officer

  • What are the common character traits?
  • Walking, talking liabilities—the unleadable, the unfixable, the unmotivatable
  • The impact of the toxic few on the agency

Identifying Toxic Individuals Before They Become Your Toxic Employee

  • Background investigations—back to basics
  • The field training program and the probationary process—a once in a career opportunity
  • Avoiding the negligent hiring “doom loop” when faced with staffing shortages 

Recognizing the Legal Avenues that Toxic Individuals Abuse

  • Discrimination, retaliation and whistleblower protections under state and federal law
  • Arbitration and personnel review boards
  • If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen—the costs of failing to detect, address and document significant conduct issues as early as possible

Confronting Toxic Behavior

  • Evaluating performance in a way that reflects the realities in the workplace
  • Progressive discipline and the Just Cause doctrine—demonstrating a good faith effort to make all employees’ successful
  • Best practices for making discipline stick when facing outside review in court or in arbitration
  • Separation agreements and toxic employees
Developing Organizational Performance Leadership