Research in Brief: The Untapped Potential of First-Line Supervisors

It is routinely acknowledged that first-line supervisors perform a variety of duties critical to the success of law enforcement organizations. Tasked with balancing the expectations of upper-level managers with the needs of front-line officers, supervisors act as directors of daily activities, monitors of officer performance and activity on the street, and translators of organizational goals and strategies for their agency.1 These supervisors have close proximity and frequent interactions with subordinate officers that provide opportunities to influence officers’ attitudes and behaviors.2 Often, supervisory leadership is key to officer performance. Therefore, it is critical for the law enforcement field to better understand the potential impact of supervisory influence, as well as how supervisors might be better selected and trained to enhance police practices at the street level.