236 – Performance Evaluations

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I.             Purpose

A law enforcement agency must be able to depend on satisfactory work performance from all employees to achieve its stated objectives. The quality of the employees’ performance have a direct bearing on their working life in the agency, on the manner in which they relate to management, and on their assignments and promotions. Therefore, a fair, impartial, and functional performance evaluation system is imperative to optimize job satisfaction for the employee, their job performance for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and Harris County citizens.

II.           Definitions 

A.           Unsatisfactory

1.            Performance clearly inadequate in one or more critical factors.

2.            Employee has demonstrated inability or unwillingness to improve or to meet standards.

3.            Performance not acceptable for position held.

4.  Specific deficiencies should be noted in the supervisor’s comments section.

B.           Needs Improvement

1.            Performance occasionally or periodically falls short of acceptable standards.

2.            Specific deficiencies should be noted in the supervisor’s comments section.

3.            The evaluation indicates the supervisor’s belief that the employee can and will make the necessary improvements.  Otherwise, it should be marked unsatisfactory.

C.           Average

1.            Consistently renders acceptable and competent performance, meeting all standards of duty assignment.

2.            Most employees will be rated in this category.

D.           Above Average

1.            Performance is well above standards for the duty assignment, often demonstrating leadership qualities amongst their peers.

2.            Evaluations in this category should be addressed in the supervisor’s comments section.

III.          Policy

Every employee will be evaluated in order to determine their performance in relation to established standards. The evaluation process is designed to:

A.           Stimulate and sustain superior performance,

B.           Foster improvement by identifying opportunities,

C.           Provide constructive feedback, and

D.           Provide guidance and training to assist employees with personal and professional advancement within the HCSO.

IV.          Procedures

A. Employee Factors

     The rating factors should assess employee performance in their specific assignment during the rating period. Each employee will be rated on each factor that best depicts the employee’s performance in relation to their duty assignment.

1.            Follows Instructions

a.            Does the employee demonstrate that they have accepted instructions by attempting to carry out instructions to the best of their ability, or do they chronically challenge instructions?

b.            Does the employee have to be repeatedly given the same instructions in order to obtain the desired effect?

2.            Assumes Initiative

a.            Refers to initiation of action by the employee.

b.            While initiative shows up in the form of suggestions and constructive feedback, it is most obvious when the employee originates investigations or acts to produce more effective, efficient, or productive methods or procedures. 

c.            Do they take opportunities to exercise initiative, or must they be prodded into action? Are they alert to operative efficiency? Are they inventive? Do they offer practical constructive feedback?

3.            Cooperates with Others

a.            Is the employee a “team member,” and do they work well with others toward a desired goal?

b.            Do they readily assist others or work with others, or must they be ordered to do so?

4.            Adheres to HCSO and Bureau Rules

a.            HCSO members are subject to rules and regulations. Failure to observe rules and regulations is subject to disciplinary action.

5.            Observes Assigned Duty Hours

a.            Refers to punctuality in reporting to or leaving a duty assignment in accordance with the prescribed schedule of working hours, breaks, or leaves of absence.

b.            Can the employee be relied upon to be working when and where they are supposed to be?

6.            Shows Concern for Quality of Work

a.            The degree of excellence of the work performed over the entire rating period is measured here. In rating this factor, attention should be paid to the consequences of poor work quality.

b.            Is the employee’s work effective, accurate, thorough, and acceptable? Must the work be redone, thus, reducing the potential volume of acceptable work that could have been produced?

c.            Do errors in the employee’s work affect the efforts of others? Does poor work too often reflect adversely upon the HCSO? Are work products clear, concise, and accurate?

                         Does the employee exhibit any pride in the quality of their work?

7.            Completes Assignments in a Timely Manner

a.            How well does the employee complete assignments?

b.            Does someone else have to do the employee’s work in order to meet time limits?

c.            How does the employee’s completion of assignments affect others?

d.            Does the employee complete assignments within acceptable time parameters for their work situation?

8.            Demonstrates Job Knowledge

a.            This factor should not be confused with, or restricted to, the technical knowledge an employee is required to bring to a specialized job function. It is much broader and includes particularly the range of pertinent policies, regulations, and procedures relating to his or her assignment.

b.            Has the probationary employee acquired an acceptable working level of job knowledge? Can the employee perform their assigned duties in an acceptable manner without being specifically told what to do? How well does the employee perform based on their direct knowledge of assigned duties?

9.            Quantity of Acceptable Work

a.            Refers to the amount of work required to meet job standards.

b.            Does the employee consistently accomplish goals and objectives? Do they produce enough work so that they are clearly a net asset to the HCSO?

10.         Presents Professional Image

a.            This should not be confused with the manner in which the employee complies with the dress code. It is much broader in that it details the manner in which the employee performs their assigned duty, interacts with the public, and with other agencies.

b.            Can other HCSO members be proud of the image the employee presents? This applies to the employee’s conduct and image both while on duty and off duty.

B.           Supervisory Factors

1.            Trains Subordinates

a.            Refers generally to orientation of new employees or to the demonstration and exploration of technical methods, procedures, and rules where the new employee cannot be expected to be competent.

b.            It also refers to introducing employees to changing methods, procedures, techniques, and improving basic qualifying skills to their highest potential level.

c.            It refers also to instructions given in day-to-day or periodic observation and supervision of employee performance. It may be an occasional duty, or it may be a planned periodic meeting of a small group of employees where effective methods, techniques, and standard procedures are explained, demonstrated, and reviewed.

d.            Does the supervisor plan and carry out a program of orientation and training for new employees? Does the employee provide for the correction of any technical skill deficiencies in new employees? Do they provide training for permanent employees in new methods and procedures? Do they assist employees in self-development programs?

2.            Enforces HCSO Rules

a.            Refers generally to degree of compliance to HCSO rules and regulations of the supervisor’s subordinates and span of control.

b.            Does the supervisor take the initiative to do so on their own, or do they have to be reminded? Do they “look the other way” for certain subordinates? Are they reluctant to enforce rules?

3.            Directs and Controls Subordinates

a.            Refers to the maintenance of order in all areas of supervisory jurisdiction.

b.            Do the supervisor’s employees perform their duties and functions in an orderly and disciplined manner that promotes work objectives? Do the employees have a clear understanding of behavior and performance standards that are expected? Does the supervisor enforce these standards consistently?

c.            Is the supervisor making reasonable efforts to lead their employees in an ethical and efficient manner so that they will have a good rapport with their employees?

4.            Makes Sound Decisions

a.            Refers to the practical exercise of authority and responsibility by the supervisor.

b.            Does the supervisor exhibit firmness and fairness in judgments affecting functional goals? Do they cause resentment or other adverse reactions to their decisions because of poor communications skills or a lack of regard for how their leadership feedback affects their employees? 

c.            Are their judgments always in accord with the best interests of the HCSO? Do they balance employee and HCSO interests when these are not fully compatible?

d.            Does the supervisor render fair and impartial evaluations to those rated, consistent with their performance over the given evaluation period?

5.            Sets Good Examples for Subordinates:

a.            Does the supervisor motivate subordinates to their best efforts through example rather than by relying on the authority of their position?

b.            Do they mold team members into a group or team whose cooperative endeavors surpass their individual performances collectively?

c.            Does their intelligent exercise of leadership create an atmosphere where employee attitudes are optimistic and positive?

C.           Procedures for Utilization of Forms:

1.            Rate each employee on each factor by marking the number value for the category that best represents the employee’s performance in relation to their specific duty assignment.

a.            Add all marked values, and enter the total score.

b.            Compare the total score evaluations to the scale shown below:

i.             Unsatisfactory                  0 to 10 points

ii.            Needs Improvement       11 to 19 points

iii.           Average                                             20 to 25 points

iv.           Above Average                26 to 30 points

2.            If the employee being evaluated is a supervisor, complete Section II in the same manner as above.

a.            Add all marked values, and enter the total score for this section. Add the total scores for both sections, and enter the total in the space for the combined total score.

b.            Compare the combined total score to the scale below:

i.             Unsatisfactory                  0 to 15 points

ii.            Needs Improvement       16 to 29 points

iii.           Average                                             30 to 38 points

iv.           Above Average                39 to 45 points

c.            Any total score falling within the “Unsatisfactory,” “Needs Improvement,” and “Above Average” categories must be explained in detail in the comments section of the evaluation form.

d.            Raters will substantiate each factor rating in the lowest or highest categories and give specific reasons for the ratings through a narrative comment or other written documentation.

D.           Rater Training:

     All new supervisory personnel must attend and successfully complete the New Supervisor Course, as required by TCOLE, prior to or within one (1) calendar year of promotion, which includes training on accomplishing performance evaluations.

E.            Schedule for Performance Evaluations:

1.            Each supervisor will complete a performance evaluation for each employee under their immediate supervision during the month of June. This evaluation will rate the employee’s performance in their assignment for the preceding one-year period.

2.            A performance evaluation report will be completed each time an employee completes the probationary period that is applicable to new employees, promotions, transfers, and discipline.

3.            Unscheduled performance ratings may be completed at any time deemed necessary for either probationary or permanent employees. The specific period being evaluated will be noted in the comments of the report, as well as an explanation for why the unscheduled evaluation is taking place.

4.            Newly-hired or promoted employees will serve a probationary period of one hundred eighty (180) days.

a.            The probationer will be evaluated at least twice during the probationary period by their immediate supervisor.

b.            One evaluation must be at the midpoint of the probationary period, and a second evaluation must be not less than ten (10) days prior to the end of the probationary period.

5.            If a supervisor, at any time, judges the performance of an employee to merit an unsatisfactory rating, the supervisor may:

a.            Complete an employee performance evaluation that specifically details the conduct or behavior leading to the unsatisfactory rating, and / or

b.            Counsel with the employee privately and advise them  in specific terms:

i.             What conduct or performance has led to the unsatisfactory rating, and

ii.            What level of performance is expected of the employee in the future.

iii.           That an unsatisfactory rating may result in disciplinary action imposed including termination, demotion, and/or transfer.

iv.           A second evaluation will be performed in 90 days.

6.            Upon completion of the performance evaluation, the rater will conduct a review of the evaluation with the subject employee in privacy. During this interview, any progress, goals, suggestions for improvement, and deficiencies will be discussed.

a.            The rater will give the employee career counseling in such topics as advancement, specialization, or training appropriate for the employee’s position.

b.            Any changes in performance ratings must be initialed in ink by the employee and the rater.

7.            Upon completion of the review of the performance evaluation report, the subject employee will be afforded an opportunity to enter any comments in the appropriate space.

a.            The employee will also indicate whether they wish to discuss the performance evaluation report with the reviewer. The request will be in writing and entered in the comments section of the performance evaluation.

b.            The rater and subject employee will sign and date all copies of the report. The employee’s signature indicates that the conference has been held and an opportunity afforded to read the report.

c.            If the employee refuses to sign the evaluation, they will be given an order by their supervisor to do so.  If they still refuse to sign, the evaluation will be notated and will be an exhibit to a Blue Team to be initiated for an investigation; reference the employee failing to obey a lawful order (Reference Policy #304 (III) (A)).

8.            After the completion of the performance evaluation review, the employee will be given a complete and true copy of the performance evaluation form.

9.            If the employee requests additional review of the performance evaluation report with the reviewer, the rater will immediately forward the evaluation to the reviewer, who will grant the request within five (5) working days.

a.            The reviewer and the employee must initial any changes or modifications of evaluations or ratings.

b.            If the employee does not receive a review within the prescribed time period, or after discussing the performance evaluation report with the reviewer feels need for further review, the employee may appeal immediately in writing to his or her bureau commander.

c.            The bureau commander’s decision will be final.

10.         All completed evaluations will be forwarded to the rater’s supervisor for review. The supervisor will evaluate raters regarding the fairness and impartiality of the ratings given, the quality of the ratings given, their participation in counseling rated employees, and their ability to carry out the rater’s role in the performance evaluation system. After review, the supervisor will sign and forward the evaluations to the bureau commander through the chain of command.

11.         The original employee performance evaluation form will be forwarded to Career Development for processing and then forwarded to the Human Resources Division for permanent retention in the HCSO personnel files. A copy will also be maintained in the employee’s bureau personnel file.


                     This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

                   April 21, 2009

                   May 1, 2018

                   June 18, 2021

June 1, 2024

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