Acting in Rank

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Course Description

The Penn State Justice and Safety Institute (JASI) is pleased to partner with our co-sponsor to present this intensive and innovative program designed to provide a better understanding of the roles, duties, and functions of an officer assigned to an acting-in-rank position. This intensive 3-day course provides attendees with the basic concepts of being a supervisor and becoming a leader.

Assignment to an acting-in-rank position can create liability issues and affect community relations if the officer is not proficient in their acting role. The course outlines the many resources officers have at their disposal to effectively operate in their temporary position.

The course has a variety of group activities that challenge the decision-making process, thereby creating critical thinkers from a supervisory standpoint. The activities in this course include how to lead a shift and prioritize situations, as well as liability issues relating to supervisors. Working in collaborative groups, attendees will develop strategies for making decisions for both day-to-day operations and critical incidents. The course examines the differences and similarities between leadership, supervision, and management. It also examines various theoretical concepts of supervision styles and the types of situations in which they may be applicable.

Many criminal cases are dismissed for reasons that originate from basic constitutional violations. Failure to have reasonable suspicion, improper securing of a crime scene, and improper searches or seizures are some of the reasons for dismissals. It is important that someone acting in a ranking position has a good understanding of case law, as it relates to good policing. Day three is dedicated to a constitutional review and scenarios to evaluate understanding of constitutional basics. Attendees will complete the course with a working knowledge of supervisory roles.

Acting in Rank also offers agencies the opportunity for their attendees to take a written exam on the material in the course. Agencies have used this course and the test as a prerequisite for allowing officers to serve in an acting-in-rank capacity. Attendees who pass the written exam will be issued a certificate indicating completion of a classroom and testing element from Penn State.

Key concepts and topics:

  • Possess a working knowledge of supervisory roles
  • Explore the differences between leadership, supervision, and management
  • Identify stakeholders and relate their importance to your agency
  • Identify various theoretical concepts of supervision styles and develop ideas on the types of situations in which they may be applicable
  • Working in collaborative groups, develop strategies for making decisions for both day-to-day operations and critical incidents
  • Explain the correlation between resources, policy, and effective supervision
  • Working in collaborative groups, identify and analyze liability issues related to supervisory positions
  • Working in collaborative groups, create ideas and strategies to effectively lead a squad
  • Analyze hypothetical situations and determine the validity of constitutional policing
  • Describe common constitutional challenge areas that give rise to failed and successful investigations
  • Given hypothetical situations, formulate responses to determine to the best course of action in relation to Constitutional standards
  • Given hypothetical situations, evaluate the impact of a supervisor’s decisions for each of the situations

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