The third component of the EPA Framework focuses on the structure and culture of the policing organization and, in particular, its success in developing five essential attributes of organizational excellence. These characteristics assure the agency possesses a high-performance ethical culture that instills pride and passion for the policing mission and values, attracts and retains high-quality sworn and civilian personnel, and promotes exceptional leaders committed to the continuous professional improvement of the agency.

  • Professional Policing Culture. A critical attribute of organizational excellence is the creation and maintenance of a values-based professional culture that reflects positive policing and moral values characterized by a passionate understanding of and commitment to purpose, organizational pride, and individual accountability. Such a culture is shaped, but not necessarily controlled by sensible and equitable written rules and policies, including formal statements of mission and values, standards of conduct, personnel practices, communications, rituals, rewards, and oaths. These formal elements of culture must be aligned with the agency’s policing and ethical values and reinforced through training, vigilant supervision, and personal accountability standards.

    Without minimizing the importance of these elements of culture, however, the actual culture of an organization is determined by the dominant operational values and beliefs that govern employee conduct. Sometimes, these values and beliefs are different and/or inconsistent with the agency’s formal value statements and written policies. Thus, both civilian and executive leadership must continually assess and effectively deal with negative mindsets, attitudes, and norms that create an embedded informal culture that undermines any aspect of a professional policing culture. Special attention should focus on attitudes and practices reflected in recruiting, training, supervision, promotion, and discipline. [76]

  • Exemplary Workforce. The second attribute of organizational excellence is the ability to attract and retain a high-quality workforce composed of employees with the character, proficiency, professionalism, and leadership abilities to achieve all agency mission goals. All aspects of an exemplary policing framework depend on people – the sworn officers and civilian employees who implement the strategies and policies set by leadership. An exemplary agency attracts and retains exemplary employees by ensuring that all its interactions with employees demonstrate procedural integrity.

  • Exemplary Workplace The third attribute of organizational excellence concerns the quality of the workplace environment. Here too, the requirements of procedural integrity are crucial. An exemplary workplace is managed in a way that reflects the values of the agency, teaches and mandates lawful conduct, and promotes ethical attitudes and conduct. It is governed by clear, fair, and effective policies and practices that engender high morale and organizational pride. An exemplary workplace promotes the growth of employees, encourages open communication, and protects their physical and emotional well-being. It engages employees by valuing and acknowledging the individual contributions of employees and, where appropriate, empowering them to participate in decision-making. In an exemplary workplace, employees of all ranks are held accountable through personnel policies and disciplinary actions that are fair, credible, and consistent. Finally, exemplary agencies provide employees with clean, safe, and well-resourced facilities and equipment.

  • Exemplary Leadership. The fourth attribute of organizational excellence is exemplary leadership. An exemplary policing agency attracts, develops, and retains supervisors, middle managers, and command officers with the character and leadership abilities to mobilize the workforce to achieve the agency’s procedural and mission goals. Exemplary leaders inspire employees to think of policing as a calling and to be proud of their role in society. They engender trust and confidence in their vision, integrity, intentions, and judgment. Finally, exemplary leaders have and are continually improving their management and relationship skills.

  • Professionalization. The last attribute of organizational excellence is professionalization, a critical quality that gives the agency the capacity to deliver consistent, high-quality service in the most effective and efficient manner possible. An exemplary policing agency is committed to ongoing improvement. It identifies and incorporates best practices and state-of-the-art strategies, techniques, and technology. Its leaders stay current with research and technological advances to identify and adapt to emerging issues and social trends and to develop innovative ways to better achieve the agency’s goals. Finally, an exemplary policing agency assures that prudent, informed, cost-effective, and community-sensitive decisions are made as to whether and how to use all its resources, including personnel, technology, and equipment.