Principle-centered leadership is one that is based on personal quality, continuous improvement, and social relations. According to Covey (1992), principle-centered leaders lead not just productive offices, but also sound and healthy lives. A principle-centered leader knows well enough to take care of his own body in order to be able to take care of his company without any personal worries. Covey adds that the “triad of diet, exercise and rest” make up the pillars of success on the job.

Secondly, a principle-centered leader knows that new ideas will always be in demand. Such a leader is sharp on his wits in eyeing out and tapping in potential subordinates who could play important roles for the company when given the chance. Gullege (1995) claimed that true leaders need to grow intellectually on a perpetual basis. They need to be up to date with innovations in their respective fields and ready to seek out new ways of improving how things work. Gullege asks “How can a company or institution become a learning organization unless the people within it become learning individuals?” in order to stress that it is the individuals in a company that ultimately drive it to new heights with the proper vision.

Lastly, proponents of principle-centered leadership stress that any good leader should know how to inspire his subordinates to do what must be done and command trust that would allow him to direct them to do the task right.

Currently, several security training providers have been offering training on principle-centered leadership. Duvall (2005) explained that much of the hype about principle-centered leadership has trickled down from Wall Street and corporate executives to police precincts

and police chiefs.  This is due to the inherent applicability of several tenets of principle-centered leadership to law enforcement leadership, where “physical fitness, mental alertness, constant improvement, and public relations are essential characteristics of the head of any police precinct.” Connor (2005).

This paper aims to assess the perception of local precincts regarding whether or not their current police chief fits under the characterized description of a principle-centered leader and whether such a description is of substantial significance to them and the dynamics of law enforcement.

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Methodology

This paper has identified 8 local precincts as the subject of its study. These precincts were selected according to the authorization from local government with respect to other limitations in resources. Each precinct was anonymously labeled (precincts A to H) with a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 23 respondents per precinct that totaled to 151. Table 1 shows the breakdown and summary of the number of respondents per precinct.

Table 1: Summary of Respondents
Precinct Code
# of respondents
A
15
B
17
C
17
D
18
E
19
F
21
G
21
H
23
Total
151
Based on the reviewed literature, aspects of a principle-centered leader were identified and a survey questionnaire was constructed according to the identified aspects. The questionnaire is composed of 15 items divided into four parts. The first three parts are about how a respondent’s police chief fits the description of a principle-centered leader while the 4th part is about how important it is for the respondent to have a principle-centered leader for a police chief. The questionnaire was administered to the respondents and the results were gathered, summarized and analyzed.

Construction

Table 2 presents a summary of the results for each of the questions in the survey questionnaire.

Table 2: Summary of Results

A. Personal Health
Always/Almost Always
Often
Seldom
Never

1.) Do you see your police chief doing standard physical exercises?
35
21
50
45

2.) Is your police chief mindful of his diet?
34
20
49
48

3.) Is your police chief overweight?
78
47
12
14

4.) Does your police chief lead in critical police operations like stakeouts?
125
12
6
8

B. Development

5.) Does your police chief introduce innovations to the precinct?
23
17
58
53

6.) Is it important for your police chief to keep abreast with latest research in law enforcement?
20
19
63
49

C.) Social Management

7.) Is your police chief approachable?
102
3
11
35

8.) Does your police chief believe in your abilities?
75
62
8
6

9.) Do you believe in your police chief’s abilities to lead?
81
57
8
5

10.) Does your police chief make you feel better about your abilities?
63
51
11
26

11.) Does your police chief know how to make you and your peers work together?
78
45
12
16

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D.) Relevance of Principle-centered leadership

Yes
No

12.) Is it important for the precinct that the police chief is physically fit?
40
111

13.) Is it important for the precinct that the police chief is mentally alert?
151

14.) Is it important for the precinct that the police chief is innovative?
103
48

15.) Is it important for the precinct that the police chief is good with people?
121
30

The results show that a significant number of respondents believe that their respective police chiefs are not maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However when asked if a healthy lifestyle is essential in running a police precinct, most of the respondents replied negatively. Respondents also generally believe that their police chiefs are not continuously taking steps towards further innovation of their work, and that innovations are far from their respective police chief’s main concerns. In this case, the respondents believe that innovativeness should be a characteristic of a police chief which most of theirs lack. Finally, a significant number of respondents agree that their police chiefs posses the social capacity of a principle-centered leader, and attest further more that such a characteristic is indeed essential to law enforcement.

Conclusion

Local police precincts do not perceive their respective police chiefs as strong examples of principle-centered leaders. Their positive perception is limited to their police chief’s social interaction capacity which is only one major aspect of principle-centered leadership. However it can also be concluded that the local police precincts do not necessarily prefer a principle-centered leader in all its aspects. Connor’s perception of an ideal police chief does not seem to be entirely in sync with the perception of police chief subordinates represented by the sample respondents which mainly gave importance to good social relations with subordinates and ability to effectively interact and coordinate subordinates’ actions. However, it can also be concluded that one area that is important for precinct subordinates where in current police chiefs are lacking is in that of continuous innovation. Therefore, principle-centered leadership should still play a significant role in law enforcement and should be further explored in terms of personnel training and development.