By Michael J. Carroll, Chief of Police, West Goshen Township Police Department, West Goshen, Pennsylvania; Immediate Past President, IACP; Chair, IACP Foundation
|Keith Guinn of Motorola greets attendees on the first day of class.|
n November 2010, the IACP Foundation joined with instructors from Motorola to provide no-cost training for 16 law enforcement executives on the topic of problem solving and analysis through a program called Digital Six Sigma (DSS). Attendees were selected from a nationwide application process that took place in August and September 2010.
Keith Guinn, Motorola’s director of quality for the North America government and commercial markets division, and John Weisz, Motorola’s director of quality and customer advocacy for the North America government and commercial markets division, presented the pilot course at the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Police Department. The audience represented a diverse collection of chiefs and command-level leaders from agencies as small as four sworn officers and from as far away as Massachusetts.
Six Sigma is a business management strategy to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects or errors and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. At Motorola, Six Sigma has evolved into DSS, a business improvement methodology that focuses on customer requirements, process alignment, analytical rigor, and timely execution.
While these tools have traditionally been used in the product design and manufacturing arena, recent years have shown an increased interest and benefit to applying them in select public safety problem-solving scenarios. These have included areas such as improving booking cycle times, refining recruiting and hiring processes, enhancing records management cycle time, and driving police–local business engagement to reduce property crimes.
Identifying Areas of Need
Prior to the course, instructors reached out to the attendees posing questions designed to ensure relevance in the application of course material to law enforcement needs.
Chiefs and command staff were asked to isolate the top three critical improvement opportunities facing their departments, to determine if there had been successful or unsuccessful attempts to solve the problems, to identify reasons for success or failure, and to conclude if it was within their authority to influence the change needed for resolution.
Attendees completed the prework and brought real-life challenges and scenarios to be examined and addressed using a variety of tools in the DSS toolbox.
The two days of training were interactive and hands-on, challenging the attendees to step outside their comfort zones in learning to apply manufacturing-based problem solving and analysis to law enforcement issues.
Instructors presented two key problem-solving concepts from DSS: the Define, Measure Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) model; and the 8D model, which actually contains nine steps to identify and solve problems:
- The planning stage
- Establishing a team
- Describing the problem
- Developing an interim containment action
- Identifying and verifying the root cause of the problem
- Choosing and verifying permanent corrective action
- Implementing and validating the permanent corrective action
- Preventing recurrence and taking action
- Recognizing the team and publishing findings
Participants used these tools to address areas of concern within their agencies in an attempt to streamline, redesign, and improve processes that they have identified as critical.
Said Motorola’s Guinn, “This two-day course proved valuable not only by delivering entry-level exposure to DSS problem-solving tools to the chiefs, but also by expanding Motorola’s understanding of the dynamic and emerging issues in professional law enforcement.”
He went on to note that by building on DSS’s traditional manufacturing-based applications, the class was able to collectively discuss and suggest other scenarios for problem solving and process improvement within law enforcement.
During smaller breakout sessions on the last day of training, instructors found even more opportunities to apply specific tools to issues such as recruiting, training, incident classifications, and even the topic of officer motivation.
Follow-up and the Future
Several attendees from the course continued to reach out to Motorola instructors for feedback regarding the topics and tools discussed in class. One chief in particular wrote, “The concepts that DSS presented followed very closely what I am studying in a master’s program in public administration . . . and I agree 100 percent that accurate problem identification is a key to successful problem solving. Often, chiefs face frustration in trying to conquer a problem that really isn’t at the core of the issue . . . the process isn’t always fully or appropriately explored before action is taken.”
I, personally, praise the ongoing partnership with Motorola. I am thrilled that we had such a level of participation from active law enforcement leaders in this class. This pilot course is critical in moving forward in a training partnership with Motorola to benefit the IACP membership and law enforcement as a whole, and I see this as an opportunity for improved delivery of this particular training and the increased acceptance of DSS as a valuable tool in the public safety arena. ■
|The IACP Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization established to solicit, receive, administer, and expend funds for law enforcement–related charitable and educational purposes. Donations may be tax deductible; please check with your personal tax adviser. The foundation’s federal tax ID number is 54-1576762.|
Please cite as:
Michael J. Carroll, "Motorola Imparts Key Training Concepts for Law Enforcement Leaders," IACP Foundation, The Police Chief 78 (February 2011): 10–11.