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How to Create a Strategic Plan

Looking for a way to take your company in a new and profitable direction? It starts with strategic planning. Keep reading to learn what a strategic plan is, why you need it and how you can strategically create one.

What Is a Strategic Plan?

When it comes to business and finance, strategic planning will help you allocate your resources, energy and assets. When implemented, a strategic plan will begin to move your operations in a more profitable direction. The primary goal of the plan is to ensure you and any other stakeholders are on the same page and striving to reach the same goal.

Creating a strategic plan requires a disciplined effort. Once you put the plan into action, it will influence the segment of customers that you target, how you serve those customers and the experience those customers have.

Assess the Current Infrastructure and Operations

The first step in creating a strategic plan is to carefully assess your existing infrastructure and operations. You can do this through a SWOT analysis, which is an analysis of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The goal here is to pinpoint the resources that you use to carry out your day-to-day operations, to look at your monthly revenue patterns, to list any company challenges related to the customer experience and, most importantly, to look at your marketing methods and ways to improve the overall customer experience.

Creation of Mission Statement and Objectives

The next step is to create a mission statement. You may already have one, but it’s important to note your mission at the top of the strategic plan document you create. This ensures everyone is focused on the same goal. Your mission statement should cover why you started the company and what you intend to accomplish through the products and services that you offer.

In addition to the mission statement, make sure to outline both short- and long-term objectives. List the objectives according to their priority and designate certain managers or employees to be responsible for each one. Also, jot down the resources that will be used to achieve each objective.

Measure Performance

Now that you know what you’re trying to achieve and who is responsible for each goal, it’s time to deploy the plan and measure its progress. A weekly meeting is extremely important for all managers and stakeholders provide feedback. Your goal is to determine if the company is headed in the right direction. If not, you’ll need to revise the strategic plan accordingly.

Strategic Plans Are Ongoing

Once your strategic plan helps you achieve several objectives, it’s smart to regroup and set new objectives. As your company grows, you can set new goals to ensure the company keeps moving forward. You can share the success of your strategic plan with potential investors as a way to tap into new capital funding.


strategic planning process law enforcement

strategic planning process law enforcement

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Smaller law enforcement agencies often face an uphill battle due to limited resources

The law enforcement profession is fluid and police leaders must be able to forecast emerging trends that will allow them to plan strategically for the future of their department. Over the years this has become increasingly difficult as the economy becomes more unpredictable.

Smaller law enforcement agencies often face an uphill battle due to limited resources and competitive grant opportunities that require an unattainable match. These agencies still have to provide the same quality service to their communities as any other mid- to large-size agency; however, they have to do more with less.

Strategic planning for any law enforcement entity serves as a document that provides the vision and goals of the organization over time, with a roadmap for how those vision and goals will be accomplished. For a smaller organization a strategic plan provides stakeholders with a living document that allows for proper planning toward the priorities of the organization in accordance with the operating budget. The following steps can help create a strategic plan for your agency.

1. Set a clear vision and goals

LE leaders must be able to set a clear vision for their agency so everyone knows the plan for the organization. Once a clear vision has been set, goals should be established, along with a time frame for accomplishing those goals.

2. Forecast your budget

It is a good rule of thumb to increase line items by at least 15 percent when forecasting future budgets . Certain line items such as fuel can be very unpredictable, so you should compare your previous fuel budget and allow for increases. It is always better to forecast a higher number and come under budget.

3. Prioritize your goals

When creating a strategic plan, consider goals that can be achieved with minimal impact to the budget (low-hanging fruit). Such quick victories will boost morale within your organization and make an impact within your community. These items can be accomplished while allowing time to achieve more lofty goals that require a more significant investment.

4. Set reasonable time frames

A three- to five-year strategic plan allows enough time to implement thorough, effective measures to achieve the vision and goals of the strategic plan.

Strategic planning in practice

Using the steps above, my department – which is comprised of 21 sworn officers and six civilian staff – created the following strategic plan:

Short-range goals

All these items had a minimal impact on our operating budget but they had a huge impact on morale and our community’s perception of our department:

Mid-range goals

We understood that while larger ticket items were a priority, they would take a little more time to accomplish.

Long-term goals

We continue to work toward increasing department personnel in our communications center, patrol and investigations divisions in order to serve our growing community with the highest level of service. We understand that this part of our strategic plan will take the longest and must be done in increments over time to ensure a smooth transition in our operating budget.

I have found much success in strategic planning for my organization. My hope is that this article will assist those in similar situations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organizations via a solid strategic plan.

About the author

Jonathan B. Flores serves as the assistant city manager and chief of police in Alton, Texas. Chief Flores is a former homicide investigator for the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. He earned his doctorate in educational leadership from Trevecca University in 2021, has a master’s in public administration from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and a bachelor's in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix.

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Criminal Justice


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Technology and strategic planning in policing.

Every criminal justice organization   needs to occasionally examine its core values and evaluate the process by which it provides the advertised goods and services. Strategic planning provides the tools and steps required to examine the efficiency of an agency’s product delivery systems. Both public and private agencies have an obligation to their service population, and without such planning, agencies risk failing to meet the needs of their customers. Therefore, strategic planning is an integral part of modern agencies concerned about fiscal responsibility and adequate service delivery (Haines 2000).

The push toward professionalism   and public accountability has led police departments to adopt strategic planning measures and to apply concepts borrowed from the business world. The advent of information technology (IT) provides new opportunities and challenges for police strategic planning. Modern technologies have become indispensable parts of today’s police planning process, whether to manage personnel or to anticipate how best to address the crime problems of tomorrow.

Basic Strategic Planning in Policing

Strategic planning holds many benefits for police leaders.   It can help an agency to identify and anticipate key trends and issues facing the organization, both currently and in the future. The planning process also explores options, sets directions, and helps stakeholders make appropriate decisions. It facilitates communication among key stakeholders who are involved in the process and keeps organizations focused on outcomes while battling daily crises. Planning can be used to develop performance standards to measure an agency’s efforts. Finally, and most important, it helps leaders to facilitate and manage change (Glensor and Peak 2005). Table 1 illustrates some strategic planning steps and the required actions.

The need for IT in strategic   planning becomes even more acute where the organization has adopted and is practicing the community-oriented policing and problem solving (COPPS) strategy. For example, under COPPS, the organization necessarily needs to maximize communication with and obtain feedback from the citizenry. Some technology applications for these purposes can be quite simplistic, such as issuing cellular telephones to officers and publishing officers’ telephone numbers. Or, on a higher plane, the agency might consider the development of a website. A web page can solicit input from the community concerning Such information can be very helpful for strategically planning the agency’s future. In addition, such areas as the agency’s history, mission, vision, values, and philosophy/methods under COPPS can be presented and explained in this website.

Table 1 Strategic planning steps and required actions

IT thus can assist the organization in meeting its goals and objectives. The chief executive must ensure, however, that all personnel are aware of these technologies and are knowledgeable in terms of their use. To merge strategic planning and IT, then, law enforcement chief executives must do the following:

Police Strategic Planning and Technology

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS),   created by the Crime Control Act Of 1994, was largely responsible for bringing police departments up to date in terms of IT. ”Under the MORE (Making Officer Redeployment Effective) program, the OCOPS delivered more than $1.3 billion to nearly 4,500 police departments for the acquisition and implementation of IT systems” (Dunworth 2005, 7). This increase in IT has helped police organizations meet their objectives by integrating technological advances into the strategic planning process.

As noted above,   it is extremely important for law enforcement organizations to engage in strategic planning. Just as important, however, is the need for the chief executives to understand how IT can assist in strategic planning, as well as the kinds of technologies that are available for this undertaking. Technological improvements can now provide crucial information for strategic planning. As examples, computer-aided dispatching (CAD) now has the ability to supply real-time statistical information, do screen mapping, prepare alarm bills and warnings, and issue and store various permits; records management systems (RMSs) now analyze crime statistics and maintain files related to people, vehicles, prisoners, and officer activities. Other technologies have been developed more recently and can provide a much better picture of the situation being examined and related long-term planning efforts.

Strategic Planning and Crime Reduction Applications

Strategic planning that involves preventive efforts or addressing specific, recurring problems can also benefit by employing IT. A few examples are as follows:

See also: Administration of Police Agencies, Theories of; Attitudes toward the Police: Measurement Issues; Changing Demo­graphics in Policing; Community-Oriented Policing: Effects and Impacts; Police Standards   and   Training Commissions; SARA, the Model.


City of Manhattan Beach

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Departments » Police Department

Strategic Plan (2019 - 2022)

The 2019-2022 Strategic Plan (PDF) took effect on January 1, 2019 and serves as a road map to guide the Police Department in the delivery of police services to the Manhattan Beach community.  Since 2008, MBPD has utilized a three or four-year strategic planning process to establish goals and priorities and to serve as our road map for the future.

Workshops, surveys, and meetings were conducted with supervisors and with sworn and civilian personnel representing every Bureau in the Police Department. A community workshop with community stakeholders was also conducted in preparation for the new strategic plan. As a result of the workshops and planning sessions, four goals were identified:

Within each of these goals are quantifiable and measurable objectives and action items which outline how the Department will work to attain these goals.  Strategic plan updates will be posted on the City website and made available to the public every six months.

Goal 1:  Community Collaboration   Further our community policing efforts by creating additional opportunities for positive and meaningful interactions with members of our community

Goal 2:  Proactive Crime Fighting Strategies   Continue to develop strategies to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in Manhattan Beach

Goal 3:  Staffing/Recruitment Use creative and innovative recruitment methods to attract the most talented employees

Goal 4:  Employee Development Foster a supportive culture that helps employees grow and utilize their skills to better serve the community

The men and women of the Manhattan Beach Police Department are proud to serve our community, and with this document as a guide, we will strive to achieve an even higher level of service.

View the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan (PDF)

View the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan Update (PDF)

Previous Strategic Plans

2016-2018 Three-Year Strategic Plan (PDF)

2013-2015 Three-Year Strategic Plan (PDF)

2008-2012 Four-Year Strategic Plan (PDF)

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents. They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

strategic planning process law enforcement


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Evolution of management thought, models of strategic planning, the essential elements of strategic planning, strategic planning in the fbi.

This article has described the benefits of strategic planning for law enforcement agencies and outlined some of the steps necessary to perform the essential elements of strategic planning. Effective American law enforcement is a goal to which all Americans are entitled. Although there are no magic panaceas or guarantees of effectiveness, strategic planning is a straightforward administrative approach with a proven track record. All law enforcement officials are encouraged to consider this approach as they guide their organizations into the future.

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