Chief Lansdowne Case Study

1976 Words 8 Pages
In 2008, the City of San Diego and the San Diego Police Officer’s Association (POA) entered contract negotiation. The Chief of Police at the time was Chief William Lansdowne; a veteran police officer himself, Lansdowne was a very charismatic and eloquent speaker. Chief Lansdowne was brought in from the outside (former San Jose Police Chief), in hopes of reshaping the police culture within the San Diego Police Department. Chief Lansdowne quickly made some internal changes to include, eliminating the Professional Standards Unit (PSU), expanding the duty firearms list (his most popular move), instituting merit-based promotional process, and a call for a more engaged command staff (meet and greet). By all indications, the internal changes were …show more content…
He sought to reduce the size of the department by eliminating certain units, loosened the discipline matrix, and focused more on putting out small fires, rather than building on the positive aspect. He removed a sense of structure and accountability through the adjustment of policy and eliminated the Professional Standards Unit that was designed to hold officers accountable. Chief William Lansdowne’s attempt to change the culture of San Diego Police department was ineffective because his beliefs, values, and practices were not shared by the officers. Many organizational leaders have short lived career as a result of their inability to balance the power and conflict of organization politics. As Morgan (2006) stated, “organizational politics arise when people think differently and want to act differently” (p.156). Chief William Lansdowne, although loved by many, was viewed as a politician with a hidden agenda. More importantly, his inability to lead the department as an autocratic leader became his greatest weakness. He was blamed for the stark contract, mass exodus of officers, officer misconducts, and low morale in the latter part of his career as Chief of Police. Although, the recession was largely to blame for the economy and stark contract, Lansdowne would have benefitted from synthesizing the machine and organism concepts. It may not have prevented officers from leaving the department, but it would have prevented much of the misconducts that eventually led to his

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