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I’m working on a Law question and need guidance to help me study.


  1. How important is First Line Supervisory Training?
  2. Do you agree with the manner in which Sergeant Rick handled this situation?
  3. How would you have handled this situation

First line supervisory training is critical as that will lay the foundation for the leader if they so choose to move up the chain. A first line leader also generally acts as a liaison between the field employees and superiors. Most of the time they get promoted from the field into the leadership role which means that additional training should be required to ease that transition. A lot more must be learned in terms of how to handle employee relations, how to balance supporting the employees as well as the organization, and employee/team goals against organizational goals. Another issue that can be talked about through training is how to handle employee situations when they were previously teammates or friends. Being able to navigate these things do not come easily and a lot of the knowledge may need to come from the additional training and even job shadowing. Some of the above may only come up as teaching moments when a leader is able to talk to another leader one-on-one versus being taught in the group setting.

Sergeant Rick should not have changed how he dealt with the situation regarding a friend and subordinate needing time off. Officer Johnson should have requested the time off if he knew he needed it. It is agreed that Sergeant Rick should not “bend the rules” for a friend. He had a tough decision to make as it appears he understood that this could strain their relationship on a personal level. How Sergeant Rick handled his career in leadership proceeding the initial incident should have been done a lot differently. One bad incident should never ruin a career.

Situations like Sergeant Rick’s was grossly mishandled by his own superior. Sergeant Rick was attempting to do the right thing, following procedures, and Lieutenant Murray failed him. Leaders are promoted for a reason and in this situation, Lieutenant Murray should have attempted to maintain a united front in in front of Officer Johnson as to not undermine Sergeant Rick’s authority. Again, how Sergeant Rick reacted afterwards was not ideal, but being put down like that early in his career can certainly make or break a leader. “Based on this observation we would suggest, therefore, that any criteria for evaluating leadership development should include an appreciation of differing facets of culture and differing cultural interpretations of leadership behavior” (Edwards & Turnbull, 2012). There are all sorts of styles of leadership meaning there will be differences between subordinates, peers, and superiors. It is important to be able to talk about those differences and come to an agreement instead of passively threatening a subordinate for attempting to take the correct actions.

Sergeant Rick’s situation leads back to the importance of proper training for first line leaders. This case study indicates that he was thrown to the wolves without any training. This is common in both the correctional and policing organizations. “Through both classroom and hands-on-training courses, the candidates were exposed to the most current corporate trends and instruction on topics such as media relations, change management, talent planning, community partnerships, forensics, and the Six Sigma business management strategy” (Carroll, n.d.). There are multiple different opportunities and styles of training that could be incorporated to prevent corrections and police leaders from being viewed as poor leadership.


Edwards, G., & Turnbull, S. (2012). A Cultural Approach to Evaluating Leadership Development. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 15(1), 46–60.

2)The importance of First Line Supervisory Training is immeasurable. A first line supervisor can make the difference between an employee wanting to come to work and being efficient or an employee leaving to find work else where because of poor leadership abilities. Drennan explains, “While executive management sets the vision, the actions of first-line supervisors determine whether employees will participate in and support that vision” (Drennan 2012). Ensuring that first line supervisors are trained to understand, mitigate, and manage their subordinates appropriately is essential to any organization’s success. The training of first line supervisors to make the best decision in difficult situations is what keeps an organization running.

The way Sergeant Rick handled this situation was not incorrect but was missing steps to be successful. After discussing with Officer Johnson, the repercussions of what would happen to him if he did not show up to work, Sergeant Rick should have notified Lieutenant Murray of the situation. Javier Pagan describes in his article how supervisors make decisions regarding punishment for subordinates. “Supervisors devise strategies on a case-by-case basis based on both the specifics of the situation and the employee’s pedigree (history)” (Pagan 2003). Sergeant Rick following through with the decision to write up Officer Johnson after failing to show up to work was correct. The fact that Lieutenant Murray did not reprimand Officer Johnson and allowed Sergeant Rick to be criticized should have led Sergeant Rick to bring the matter to Murray’s supervisor. Additionally, Sergeant Rick’s subsequent reaction to the lack of punishment of Officer Johnson should not have affected how he continued to conduct himself. If he made the correct decisions based upon the totality of the circumstances and it did not go his way it was no fault of his own. Finally, Sergeant Rick should remember “If anyone, then, know the good they ought to do and does not do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17 2011).

Once, having been a team leader in the Army and having soldiers to supervise, a similar experience has occurred in my own career. The soldier happened to be in the Army Body Composition Program or ABCP for exceeding the maximum allowed body fat percentage for height and weight. The individual had been given previous reprimands for not being within regulation standards and punishments followed. When the soldier was placed under my own supervision, a plan was made together to adjust eating habits and a new workout plan. The soldier was informed by the Detachment Sergeant, the Officer in Charge and myself on what the repercussions would be for failing again. The results were the soldier was removed from the ABCP program, became promotable and themselves earned the rank of Sergeant. What Sergeant Rick failed to do as a first line supervisor is notify his supervisor to the situation and how he planned to handle the situation. By notifying the Lieutenant, he shows his capability to handle the situation and a way to gauge how the Lieutenant will or will not give punishment.

Drennan, F. S., & Richey, D. (2012). Skills-based leadership: The first-line supervisor part I. Professional Safety, 57(2), 59-63.

Drennan, F. S., & Richey, D. (2012). Skills-based leadership: The first-line supervisor part II. Professional Safety, 57(3), 50-54.

NIV study Bible: New international version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Pagan, J. F., & Franklin, A. L. (2003). Understanding variation in the practice of employee discipline: The perspective of the first-line supervisor. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 23(1), 61-77. doi:10.1177/0734371X02250113

Stojkovic, S., Klofas, J., & Kalinich, D. B. (2010). The administration and management of criminal justice organizations: A book of readings. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

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