Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Early Warning Systems
Christopher W. Ortiz & Karen L. Amendola
An early warning system (EWS) is a personnel management tool utilized by police command staff to identify individual officer or group performance problems at the earliest possible stage. EWSs collect data on a number of managerially defined police performance indicators (e.g., citizen complaints, use-of-force incidents, arrests, etc.) and compare them to predefined organizational tolerance levels or thresholds. Officers whose levels exceed the threshold for any one given indicator are “flagged” or otherwise noted by the system, and this notice is brought to the attention of supervisory staff, whose duty it is to intervene. EWSs allow police managers to proactively intervene through the use of counseling and retraining, thereby redirecting officers’ work performance toward the orga-nization's goals. EWSs are a police accountability tool. They bolster accountability by establishing quantifiable departmental standards across a broad spectrum of police performance indicators and then capture individual officer or unit performance on each of these ...