Span of Control and Practical Reflection

Supervision is an important part of managing a law enforcement agency. Chapter 8 of the course textbook covers several supervision models used to effectively manage police operations. Span of Control is one of the models examined and it refers to identifying the appropriate number of employees that can be managed by any one supervisor (p. 227). Give your opinion regarding what is the appropriate span of control and explain your rationale.

In most cases, careers in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement exist, in some form of another at the Federal, State, and Local/County/City level and often in the private-sector. This week, research your selected position on, or your state’s employment management system, local municipality’s employment management system, and (private-sector), and discuss the similarities and differences (example: salary, jurisdiction, scope of work, required skill and education, and promotion potential).


Like the text states, the span of control can be wide or narrow depending on the situation, needs and experience of the supervisor and employees. A smaller law enforcement agency, especially in a lower crime area, would have a narrower span just because they don’t have that many to supervise but a larger company could do either. I would suggest that larger high crime areas would have a narrower span due to the high workload. This workload would keep the supervisors too busy to keep control of things if there were too many. There also needs to be a limit on the number of levels, the more levels, the more confusing it can be as well as more pressure on the employees if they feel they are being singled out.

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