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The Assessment Center Handbook for Police and Fire Personnel

The Assessment Center Handbook for Police and Fire Personnel, Third Edition. By Charles D. Hale. Charles C. Thomas Publisher,; 238 pages; $36.95.

Charles D. Hale, a former police officer, investigator, and field supervisor, entered the police management and personnel development field during the 1970s. Since that time, he has provided consultation services to clients in more than 25 states. Based on his extensive experiences in hiring and on subsequent analysis of more than 300 promotion assessments he conducted, Hale developed this handbook to give police and fire administrators a tool that they could use to determine employee readiness.

The work includes concise discussions of assessment center design and administration. The importance of good, realistic planning is emphasized throughout. Covered quite well are exercise design, candidate orientation, facilities and equipment, scheduling methods, staff support, and maintenance.

Hale devotes a full chapter to the selection and training of assessors because they can make or break the validity of the assessment center process. The information presented includes the basics of how an assessor should evaluate and score candidates. Of even more importance to the reader, Hale has an excellent section on “great blunders” and how to avoid them. All of this comes in a well-written and easy-to-read how-to booklet.

The author addresses police, fire, and emergency medical services, and has candidate exercises for each. This creates redundancies that make the book longer. How­ever, readers can skip to exercises that pertain to their subjects.

In this work, the author has given the public safety field a great starting point for developing a tool to identify future leaders. This information can be adapted by human resources and business leaders to create their own assessment center programs. Security organizations would do well to adopt his methodologies to identify those professional field supervisors and managers who can become leaders in the company.

Overall, this book is a good educational resource for progressive departments that are seeking more realistic ways to improve their leadership and management choices.

Reviewer: James T. Roberts, Jr., CPP, CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), U.S. Marshal (retired), has served ASIS as a chapter chair, regional vice president, national council chair, and member of the Professional Certification Board and Item Development Group. He currently serves on the Law Enforcement Liaison Council. He is president of Starboard Focus Contingency Planning, a business continuity planning company.