Police Captain Takes Management Training to the Street

New Haven Police Captain Francisco Ortiz is one of 26 students learning management and leadership skills at the Management Training Institute, a joint effort of Yale University and the city of New Haven.

“Policing has changed since (when) I first began,” said Ortiz, who also did a stint as an investigator with the New Haven State’s Attorney’s office in 1996 before returning to New Haven police and attaining the rank of captain in 1998.

“We are learning about the things that influence the police department-behavior, conduct and outcomes-all the components that are important to policing,” said Ortiz of the Institute.

Under the direction of Laura Freebairn-Smith, a graduate of the Yale School of Management who has headed Yale’s Organizational Development and Learning Center since June, management is being changed from an art to more of a science. Freebairn-Smith, who founded and formerly headed up Good Works Associates-a leadership skills consultancy-said the Center is trying to make learning an integral part of University employees’ lives.

“When I first learned about this training opportunity, I thought it might offer creative management styles that I might implement in the department in our model of policing,” said Ortiz, who was invited by police upper management to attend the Institute. “Traditionally, policing is rudimentary–defining statutes, making arrests, investigating crime, testifying in court, following rules and procedures. For the most part, it’s somewhat paramilitary.”

That will all change with what he has learned at the Institute, said Ortiz, who is the community patrol resource coordinator overseeing 300 officers. He said the classes help him (look at the department globally in reviewing management styles and seeing) see the department as if it were a private business organization seeking to implement motivational techniques.

“I came into this with an empty cup, hoping they would fill it, and they did,” added Ortiz. “The course helps all of us think about our roles and the decisions we make every day, and the impact those decisions have on the people we supervise as well as the public at large in my case.”

Ortiz plans to encourage the key people around him to participate more in the decision-making process by implementing teamwork and task-oriented problem solving skills he has learned in the Institute.

Freebairn-Smith said instructors teach at the Institute at no charge to the University or to students. Other courses, some of which are free or carry nominal fees, are conducted at the Learning Center at 221 Whitney Avenue and are open to Yale employees and the public.

“The University is investing heavily in improving its managerial skills, its staff skills, basic administrative skills and customer service skills,” said Freebairn-Smith, a 15-year veteran in organizational development and training. “We’re going to see a lot of new initiatives and change coming over the next two to five years. The feedback has been fantastic. This will be offered at least once a year.”

Those interested in the Organizational Development and Learning Center should visit their Internet site at http://www.yale.edu/learning center, or call the office at 203-432-5660.

A formal graduation ceremony for this year’s class, planned for October 29 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at a location to be announced, will be hosted by Yale President Richard C. Levin and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr.

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