Risk Management in Law Enforcement: A Model Assessment Tool




Hutto, John C.

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Purpose: The purpose of this research is threefold. The first purpose is to establish a practical ideal model to assess risk management practices in law enforcement agencies. Second, using case study, current risk management practices at the Austin Police Department will be assessed. The third purpose is to provide recommendations for improving the risk management practices at the Austin Police Department. A review of the literature has identified four key components of effective risk management programs. These components are program development, risk assessment, solution analysis, and program administration. Methodology: The components of an effective risk management program identified in the literature are used to construct the conceptual framework. A practical ideal type model assessment tool for law enforcement agency risk management programs is created from the framework. The assessment tool is used in a case study of the Austin Police Department to gauge for the presence of an effective risk management program. The case study uses document analysis and survey research to perform the assessment. Findings: The Austin Police Department exists in a high-risk environment. Many of the policies and procedures the Department has in place are designed to mitigate or eliminate risk. The newly formed Risk Management Bureau of the Austin Police Department has been created to formalize many of the policies and procedures into a more comprehensive policy. At this time, the major shortcomings in the program are in the areas of training and communication. There has been limited training for the managers and administrators outside the Risk Management Bureau. Likewise, even though the Department is making progress towards a professional, innovative, risk management program, the communication to those in the organization about what is being done is lacking.


An Applied Research Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science, Texas State University-San Marcos, in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Spring 2009.


risk Management, law enforcement, police, liability, Public Administration


Hutto, J. C. (2009). Risk management in law enforcement: A model assessment tool. Masters of Public Administration, Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, TX.


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