1. #1
    Tmg
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    Writing a letter of recommendation.

    I was asked to write a letter of recommendation by an ex Officer (I was his supervisor).

    I have never wrote one of these and i really dont know what i should put in it.

    Does anyone have an example of one?

    He was a great Officer and i want to help him out.

    Thanks.
    Making the streets safer, one donut at a time

  2. #2
    It's Complicated
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    Simply relate why you think he was a good officer, listing some examples of his qualities.

    I threw all the copies of letters in the trash when I retired...................sorry

    I always tried to explain why I enjoyed supervising the person, gave some of the incidents that I remembered where he/she excelled in something, and why I would re-hire or be happy to work with the person again.
    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon - no matter how good you are, the pigeon will still crap all over the board and strut around like it won anyway."



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  3. #3
    L-1
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    A Different Point of View

    At risk of putting a damper on things, you may want to first find out if it writing such a letter is consistent with department policy.

    I bring that up because my prior agency prohibited individual discussion of am employee's performance. Instead, prospective employers were referred to the employee's personnel file where any comments were substantiated by documented personnel evaluations, supervisors notes, commendations, reprimands, etc.

    Our oral boards were not allowed to accept letters of recommendation because they could only award points based on correct answers to test questions. If a BI found information in the applicant's personnel file contrary to what was in a letter of recommendation, he wondered who was lying. If it was consistent with what was in the package, he wondered why the letter duplicating everything was written in the first place.

    In short, writing letters of recommendation was considered an unacceptable practice for us.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

  4. #4
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    Be sure your agency allows the practice and if you are permitted to use the agency name/address and/or your position in writing the letter.

    As a general example:
    November 29, 2011

    To whom it may concern

    I confirm that I have known Mr. James Smith for seven years. I served as Mr. Smiths direct supervisor at the Happy Days Police Force, Sunshine California. During his tenure, Mr. Smith demonstrated consistent professional discharge of duties as a police officer. He is a reliable, dependable and sincere individual.

    In the time I have known Mr. Smith he has always been consistent, knowledgeable and a strong team member.

    I’m welcome the opportunity to provide further information if required.

    Respectfully,

    Deputy Chief John Dillinger
    ---

    Some key points when writing or giving a reference:

    Avoid-

    -Mentioning any weaknesses the candidate has.

    -Saying anything that could be construed as libel.

    -Writing in an informal manner: keep the letter business-like. Jokes, slang and casual language are not appropriate and may harm the candidate’s chances.

    -Including personal information not relevant to the application. Mentioning the candidate’s race, political stance, religion, nationality, marital status, age or health is usually inappropriate.

    -Spelling mistakes, sloppy writing or typos: this letter is hugely important to the candidate, and you should take care to make it look professional

  5. #5
    Tmg
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgt jon View Post
    Be sure your agency allows the practice and if you are permitted to use the agency name/address and/or your position in writing the letter.

    As a general example:
    November 29, 2011

    To whom it may concern

    I confirm that I have known Mr. James Smith for seven years. I served as Mr. Smiths direct supervisor at the Happy Days Police Force, Sunshine California. During his tenure, Mr. Smith demonstrated consistent professional discharge of duties as a police officer. He is a reliable, dependable and sincere individual.

    In the time I have known Mr. Smith he has always been consistent, knowledgeable and a strong team member.

    I’m welcome the opportunity to provide further information if required.

    Respectfully,

    Deputy Chief John Dillinger
    ---

    Some key points when writing or giving a reference:

    Avoid-

    -Mentioning any weaknesses the candidate has.

    -Saying anything that could be construed as libel.

    -Writing in an informal manner: keep the letter business-like. Jokes, slang and casual language are not appropriate and may harm the candidate’s chances.

    -Including personal information not relevant to the application. Mentioning the candidate’s race, political stance, religion, nationality, marital status, age or health is usually inappropriate.

    -Spelling mistakes, sloppy writing or typos: this letter is hugely important to the candidate, and you should take care to make it look professional
    Thanks for the help. This points me in the right direction.
    Making the streets safer, one donut at a time

  6. #6
    Tmg
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    Quote Originally Posted by L-1 View Post
    At risk of putting a damper on things, you may want to first find out if it writing such a letter is consistent with department policy.

    I bring that up because my prior agency prohibited individual discussion of am employee's performance. Instead, prospective employers were referred to the employee's personnel file where any comments were substantiated by documented personnel evaluations, supervisors notes, commendations, reprimands, etc.

    Our oral boards were not allowed to accept letters of recommendation because they could only award points based on correct answers to test questions. If a BI found information in the applicant's personnel file contrary to what was in a letter of recommendation, he wondered who was lying. If it was consistent with what was in the package, he wondered why the letter duplicating everything was written in the first place.

    In short, writing letters of recommendation was considered an unacceptable practice for us.
    That's a shame.
    Making the streets safer, one donut at a time

  7. #7
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    I am a former high school counselor and have written hundreds of letters of recommendation. I have also written several letters to prospective employers for students (I was an adjunct professor at a local university too).

    1- Open by introducing the person. Remember you want to convey things that wouldn't otherwise be readily accessible in the paper application. Use descriptive words to talk about who the applicant is, what they meant to you as a supervisor, what they meant to the department, and also how the public felt about him/her. I always introduced the first and last name, then because I was trying to get them to see the candidate as a person, would use only their first name. In my closing, I would remind them of their full name by using it again.

    example: I am writing this letter on behalf of Officer John Doe. John has been a police officer/trooper/deputy for X years and I have had the pleasure of being his colleague and supervisor for X years. He is [insert some adjectives to describe him; examples: witty, intelligent, funny, capable, professional, meticulous, highly trained, etc]. As a supervisor, I learned he [adjective or short description of how it was to supervise him; ie, made supervision easy and even taught me some qualities of effective supervision (list them if you say something like this, don't blow smoke)].

    2- talk about who John is/what he means to his colleagues, the department, and the public.

    Fellow officers would say John is [adjective, then tell a short one or two sentence story to back it up]. John has been a [adjective or descriptive statement] influence in the department. He [what great thing or things he has done for the department]. The public has said [adjective] about John. For example, [short one or two sentence story about him].

    3- closing. In college letters of recommendation, the KISS OF DEATH was to say something like, "please call me if you have questions" or "if you need additional information, please contact me" or some such thing. That was code for saying, call me and I'll tell you what I can't say in a written letter. Include your phone number in the heading, but don't suggest they should or may call you. If they need to, they will. Give a summary and a recommendation for John.

    example: John has been a [adjective or descriptive statement] to our agency. He is [adjectives]. I felt [feeling] when John left [my agency] and would feel [feeling] if he came back. I [give your level of recommendation: ie, wholeheartedly, without hestitation or reservation, am pleased to, etc.; leave this out if you want] recommend John Doe for employment with your agency.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by hopperja; 12-14-2011 at 01:05 AM.

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