Mentoring for Success:
IACP New Police Chief Mentoring Project for Small Police Agencies

The beginning of any new police chief’s administration can be crucial to achieving a successful transition and to building important relationships within the new agency and the community. New responsibilities as the leader can be overwhelming, confusing and frustrating and newer chiefs have technical assistance and support they can call upon.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police, Research Center Division’s Services, Support and Technical Assistance to Smaller Police Department’s Program has developed a New Police Chief Mentoring Project. With funding support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice, the focus of our activities is to provide services to the some 12,000 smaller agencies around our nation through mentoring and the dissemination of the Police Chiefs Desk Reference.

The project is designed to provide newer police executives with leadership and policy guidance as they begin their tenure. The project serves agencies of 25 or fewer sworn officers or those serving population sizes of 25,000 or less. Newer chiefs from appointment to year three are provided with access to seasoned chiefs from similar sized agencies to learn how they achieved success and resolved similar problems.

To participate in the mentoring program, the newer chiefs are asked to complete a profile indicating areas of concern or challenges they have in their agencies. Mentors also complete a profile indicating their areas of expertise. The newer chief will then be matched with an experienced chief best fitting the new chief’s profile information. The mentors work to guide newer chiefs to solutions to the problems that will work in their respective jurisdictions. Mentors provide support and assistance in tapping into available support systems and obtaining needed resources. Together they review and discuss problem areas, set goals, develop plans of action, and establish timelines for meeting the goals.

Mentors volunteer to work with new chiefs for a three-month period and average about 1-2 hours of work together by email and phone contact. Mentors are required to have at least five years experience as a chief of a smaller agency, and been actively involved in the law enforcement field within the past 5 years.

A major component of the project, the Police Chiefs Desk Reference (PCDR), was designed with the new chief in mind and contains a wealth of resources to assist new chiefs in their new role as a police executive. Police chiefs from around the country who share a desire to pass along their knowledge and experience with their peers contributed many of the writings. This document contains information about the IACP and the Research Center Directorate, including current projects and publications. Chapters are included on ethics, leadership, policy and procedures, funding, and accreditation. Also included are sample internal and community surveys as well as best practices guides written specifically for smaller agencies on a wide range of topics. There is also information about state associations of chiefs of police and many other resource listings, summaries, and Web site referrals. There is no charge for this program.

IACP Desk Reference