In its annual review of Police Chief Michael Kehoe’s job performance, the five-member Police Commission has given the chief generally high marks for his work during 2012.
Police Commission members endorsed the chief’s performance review for calendar 2012 in early December, before the December 14 shooting incident occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The Police Commission is an elected agency whose members set the police department’s policies and also hire, promote, suspend, and remove police department members, as needed.
The performance review lists seven areas in which the chief’s work is evaluated: service to the community, leadership, initiative, people management, communication, financial management, and professional development.
Number grades, which are subdivided by decimals, are used by commission members to quantify work performance.
A grade of 4 “exceeds expectations;” a grade of 3 “meets all expectations;” a grade of 2 “meets most expectations,” and a grade of 1 is “unsatisfactory.”
The chief’s total composite score in the review was 3.08.
Police Commission members gave Chief Kehoe the highest marks in the areas of financial management and professional development.
Concerning financial management, the chief received an average score of 3.7. He received a perfect score of 4 for his budgetmaking abilities, with dual 3.6 scores in the area of using financial information effectively and also in the areas of financial decisionmaking, cost reduction, and involving subordinate officers in financial management.
Concerning professional development, Chief Kehoe received an average score of 3.7. The chief received a perfect score of 4 for representing the police department in a professional manner and creating and maintaining good working relationships with town boards and agencies. Police Commission members gave him 3.4 score for identifying opportunities to enhance external relations.
In the category of leadership, the chief received an overall grade of 3.13. Five subgrades ranged from a high of 3.6 for managing time and meeting deadlines to a low of 2.5 for acting as a role model for patrol officers and supervisory staff and setting a good leadership example.
In the area of communication, Chief Kehoe received an overall grade of 2.9. Among those subscores, the highest was 3.6 for clear and succinct writing and the lowest was 2.5 for persuasively and clearly communicating new ideas, assigning work clearly, and communicating all that is expected.
Concerning initiative, Chief Kehoe received an overall score of 2.83. The highest subscore in that area was a 3 for orchestrating multiple activities and the lowest score was 2.7 for developing and implementing new ideas, strategies, and approaches.
In the community service category, the chief received an overall score of 2.74. The highest subscore of 3.2 was given in the area of providing high quality service to the community which meets the needs and requirements of a diverse population. The lowest subscore was 2.3 concerning working to gain the trust and respect of fellow officers and the community through active involvement in community organizations.
In the area of people management, the chief received an overall score of 2.6. The highest subscore in that area was 3, covering setting performance objectives and goals and monitoring progress. The lowest score of 2.4 came in the areas of organizing, utilizing, directing and coaching subordinates, and also in providing timely and appropriate performance feedback to develop employees.
Beyond the quantified section of the evaluation, the Police Commission offered some commentary.
“Clearly, the chief’s performance shows good achievements with areas that need to be and can be improved,” it states.
“The commission’s evaluation has been influenced significantly by the findings of the Dr [James] McCabe ‘Employee Diagnostic’ report dated February, 2012. The report, which outlined and reported on significant employee uneasiness and dissatisfaction with the command of the agency, outlined areas of improvement that can be addressed in order to alleviate areas of concern. Chief Kehoe’s response to the report and recommendations has been noted as being very positive and constructive, when it could very easily have been defensive and argumentative,” the commentary states.
The commentary adds that Chief Kehoe has taken the initiative to implement corrective measures and a procedures to achieve the McCabe report’s thrust.
The commission notes that its evaluation of the police chief shows a need for him to interact in a more personal and helpful manner with his organization, while still maintaining the command structure and behavior necessary in a quasi-military unit.
“All in all, the commission feels that Chief Kehoe has performed quite well, and recognizes…that there are a few areas that with concentration and perseverance can be improved,” according to the Police Commission.
Commission members added that they discussed with First Selectman Pat Llodra her opinion of the chief’s performance, noting that she values communications, accessibility, and responsiveness, adding that she believes that the chief excels in those qualities.
For calendar 2013, the Police Commission recommends some performance goals for Chief Kehoe.
Generally, these include: make efforts to improve employee-management relations and make efforts to provide more positive work outcomes for staff members.
Following a free study that he performed in 2012 at the request of the Police Commission, James E. McCabe, PhD, a criminal justice professor, found that improving communications among rank-and-file police officers, the police chief, and the Police Commission is the best way to address low morale among the rank-and-file police membership.
Dr McCabe is an assistant professor in the criminal justice department at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. Dr McCabe served in the New York City Police Department for 21 years, retiring at the rank of inspector.
Dr McCabe has told Police Commission members that the police department has an “outstanding group of men and women who are looking to do a good job.”