Problem solving and policing go hand-in-hand, especially in departments who embrace a community policing philosophy. The SARA model is one method among many which is implemented for problem solving. The method is straightforward, and can be found in many areas outside of policing as well. Here’s a quick rundown:

Scanning – Identify and prioritize the problem
Analysis – Use data to determine the cause of the problem
Response – Develop and implement an action plan
Assessment – Evaluate the effectiveness of the response

The beauty of the SARA model and similar problem-solving methods is that a clear plan is formulated and action is taken based on that plan. In some cases plans may be revised multiple times to achieve a solution. It is also a method which can be used from the leader(s) of an organization through to the newest employees as well. 

But what happens if there are no employees to solve problems?

The subject of hiring and retention in policing has been a hot topic because of a lack of persons interested in becoming police officers, and many current officers seeking employment at agencies where they will receive better compensation, support, and in some cases overall working conditions. 

This topic is not limited to police officers. 

Yesterday, an article was published by The Standard Times which covered initiatives put in place by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office in order to hire and retain employees. The article offered a quote from Sheriff Heroux acknowledging that steps needed to be taken to address the hiring, retaining, and morale of their staff. The article was covering one of a series of steps.  

While it is not clear whether the SARA model was used to develop the plan put into place by Heroux, what is clear is that a problem was identified, data regarding the problem was processed, and a plan was put into place to respond to the problem. 

Time will tell if the approach will be deemed successful, but a leader taking positive action to address a clear and present problem should not be overlooked. 

Check out the Standard Times article here:

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