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Police and Law Enforcement Organization and Management

This page focuses on organization and management issues of interest to police and local law enforcement, including strategic planning, advisory boards, police reserve programs, and public records.



Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is essential for long-term success. The amount of external stakeholders and internal departmental personnel involved in the planning process, and the degree to which they are involved, will vary according to the size of the department and its organizational attributes.

Examples of Strategic Plans


Police Advisory and Review Boards

Advisory or Review Boards are all-volunteer groups whose members contribute their time and talents to promote public safety, form a liaison between the community and the police department, and assist in educating the community for a better understanding of the respective responsibilities of police and citizens. For information on citizen oversight of local law enforcement, see Citizen Review of Police: Approaches and Implementation, publsihed in 2001 by the National Institute of Justice.

Examples of Ordinances Establishing Advisory or Review Boards

Examples of Advisory or Review Boards


Police Reserves

A reserve police officer (also known as an auxiliary officer) is either a volunteer or paid worker, depending on the circumstance and the department for which they work. They perform law enforcement duties in their community.

City councilmembers may serve as reserve law enforcement officers for the city (as well as volunteer firefighters or volunteer ambulance personnel), but only if approved by a resolution adopted by two-thirds of the city council (RCW 35.21.770/35A.11.110).

Examples of Ordinances Establishing Reserve Units

Examples of Reserve Units


Public Records Management and Disclosure

Like all other units of local government, police and sheriff departments are subject to the Public Records Act and must disclose certain documents if requested. For more information, see our Law Enforcement Records Tool Kit.


Recommended Resources


Last Modified: April 02, 2021