Category Archives: Dynamic of Character

I recently received this email message from a student of Police Dynamics and aspiring law enforcement leader from a western Sheriff’s Office asking for advice. I thought my other readers might like to read his request and my response…

Hi Ray,

I’ve been with the department for 6 years now in the detention facility and am now attending the Law Enforcement Academy. I have been elected as the president of my class, and am wondering if you have any guidance you can provide as to how I can be an effective leader. I know you have a lot of experience and hope that you can share some of that with me.

Here is my response…

I would be glad to help in any way that I can. Just the fact that you have sought me out shows a lot about your character and potential as a leader. First of all, good leaders are humble, teachable, and always putting the needs of others first. Leading by example is not an outdated idea. It is the essence of leadership.

I have always sought to model my own leadership style after others that I admire. Historical figures, like George Washington or Stonewall Jackson, have been great inspirations to me, as well as living examples who have mentored me over the years. One caveat is that current mentors will oftentimes let you down. They are only human too. So take the good and learn from the bad that you find in them.

Read, read, read. There is so much out there on leadership and I suggest you find books and/or videos from authors who you respect. Look for those that approach leadership from a character-based perspective. Steven Covey has some great stuff as does John Maxwell. Doug Dickerson, who is a frequent guest-poster on the Police Dynamics blogsite, offers an excellent book you might want to consider. I have an e-book that is available for sale on the site that you might also consider. Training courses are also good. Take advantage of all that you can.

Remember this, the greatest leader who ever lived said, “I came not to BE served, but TO serve” and “He who would be the greatest among you must become the servant of all.” Follow this principle and you can’t go wrong. Look for ways to serve others, to help them achieve their goals, and to become more successful. Leadership will come when you are ready. It sounds like you are well on your way with the class presidency. Find ways to serve your fellow classmates instead of yourself and you will stand out in a positive way.

Please stay in touch and let me know if there is any other way that I can help you along your path. But also remember this: the path of leadership is the path of MOST resistance. There is heartache and struggles ahead for the true leader. But for those who are called to it, there is no other way…!

Ray

Can a character initiative in your law enforcement agency actually reduce the crime rate? Is there a connection between good character and crime fighting? In this last installment of the Dynamic of Character from the Police Dynamics Video Training Series, I take a look at the impact of character training programs on the crime rates from the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office and the Goose Creek Police Department in SC; the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office in Florida; and Fresno, CA.


Sorry for the long delay in posting a new police training video. I was on leave enjoying a great time at Myrtle Beach with my family. But now I’m back in Kabul and ready to start blogging again.

There are three components to building a culture of character. The first is Gaining a New Vocabulary by familiarizing yourself with the working definitions of the 49 character qualities as defined by Character First! (click on the link for a free download of the character definitions). The second is Making the Character Connection by praising the character quality that produced the achievement rather than the achievement itself. The third is Understanding the Character Test (in the video I say “understanding” but really it’s more about “anticipating” the character test). These are circumstances that crop up unannounced, although not unexpectedly, that put your character to the test. Some people say that a character test builds character. I don’t dispute that. But I think more importantly the character test gives you an opportunity to demonstrate the character that you already had developed in your life.

In this short training video from the Police Dynamics Video Training Series, I explore the dynamic of the character test and how the Character First! definitions can be used in the workplace to promote good character. I also use the definition of Truthfulness (Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts) to demonstrate how you can technically be honest but still be deceptive. Truthfulness means being Full of Truth…


Understanding the Character Maxim and how to make the Character Connection by praising for character rather than achievement makes you a better supervisor. As supervisors, we tend to say things like “Good job” or “Keep up the good work” when praising the members of our teams. Our vocabulary tends to be very limited. But character-based supervision requires a new vocabulary that links the character quality with the achievement. It forces us to become better supervisors, better parents, and better leaders.

In this segment from the Police Dynamics Video Training Series, I demonstrate how to use the character quality definitions from the Character First curriculum to motivate and praise those under your authority.

After watching this video, every time you find yourself saying “good job” or “keep up the good work,” it should serve as a red flag. Realize that you have just praised someone for achievement instead of character, make the character connection by coming up with at least one character quality the person displayed, then praise them for the character quality as well. This will remind them to keep up the good character…!


The Character Maxim states: “Praising achievement to the exclusion of character encourages bad character.”
In this segment from the Police Dynamics Video Training Series, I use illustrations from family life to demonstrate this principle at work.


Shortly after I took office as Sheriff of Dorchester County, we experienced a tragic crime. An armored-car was hi-jacked and one of the guards brutally murdered. Due to an intense investigation and some top-notch forensic work, we were able to identify the murderer and successfully prosecute the case.

Right after the jury came in with their verdict, I sought out my Detective Sergeant (now a Lieutenant) who had handled the crime scene and forensic portion of the case. I knew the conviction was largely due to his efforts and I wanted to recognize him for a job well-done.

Lt. Earl Asbell

So I found him out back of the courthouse and went up to praise him as any good Sheriff should. But instead of praising him for his achievement (gaining the conviction), telling him “good job,” or “keep up the good work,” I praised him for three character qualities. By “pitching” these character qualities, right across the plate so he could catch them, I made the “character connection” and ensured that I sent the right message.

Gaining the conviction was the achievement–the fruit. Character qualities like attentiveness, thoroughness, and diligence were the seeds that produced the fruit. If you focus on the fruit and neglect the seed, you can produce a bad crop. It’s the Law of the Harvest. According to our Character Maxim, if you focus on achievement to the exclusion of character, you encourage bad character. 

Watch this short video excerpt from the Police Dynamics Video Training Series as I demonstrate how to use character-based praise to encourage high achievement. 

Praising character over competence requires a new vocabulary. The 49 character qualities defined by Character First provide an excellent tool.



Do you remember your first pursuit? Most police officers do. They can turn out really good or they can turn out really bad. As law enforcement leaders, we can use character-based praise to help minimize the potential disasters associated with high-speed police pursuits.

In this short clip from the Police Dynamics Video Training Series, I use the story of a Rookie’s Pursuit to illustrate just how important it is to praise the character that produced the achievement rather than the achievement itself. 

 

In this illustration, the Rookie exercised the character quality of self-control:

rejecting wrong desires and doing what is right.

His self-control is what kept his own emotions in-check and maintained his composure so he could make good decisions under pressure.


The Character Training Institute defines Determination as:

purposing to accomplish right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition.

Watch this heart-warming video of a young girl whose determination allowed her to overcome an incredible obstacle in order to reach her goals in life. 

Click here to download the full list of the 49 character qualities and their definitions.



The Twin Towers of Integrity is a model I use to illustrate the relationship between character and competence. Both are important for our success and together they form the twin towers that support our integrity, which in turns builds trust, which fuels our relationships. These trust-based relationships with the community can then be used in a  coactive manner to establish peace. This is the essence of the coactive model of policing which has led to so much success for the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies throughout the world that have adopted the principles of Police Dynamics.

In this video, we visit the ancient pyramids of Giza in Egypt to drive this point home…


Photo courtesy of www.traveladventures.org

We are back to some more traditional Police Dynamics training videos from my trip to the Middle East.

Here I use the Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Jerash in Amman, Jordan to explain the Twin Towers of Integrity and how it is possible to build a life on competence alone. But then what happens when the character test shows up? We know police officers like this. They know the law, they know procedure, they know policy. But you can’t trust them…


Sheriff Ray Nash

Sheriff Ray Nash

Free Training Resources

The Benefits of Good Character
49 Character Qualities
10 Virtues of a Law Officer
Police Dynamics Intro Video

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What Law Enforcement and Community Leaders Are Saying About Police Dynamics

“A few years ago, we brought the Police Dynamics program to the Cincinnati Police Division and were most impressed with the quality of the training and richness of the program.”
Mike Daly
Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

"I have attended training conducted by the Police Dynamics Institute in the past and know Ray Nash both personally and professionally. They have my whole-hearted endorsement…"
Sheriff Larry Williams
Orangeburg, SC

"I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this website. I was introduced to your video on the Dynamics of Authority through my father who is a police chaplain for the FBI and local law enforcement agencies here in Las Cruces. I have taught and applied the Dynamics model to my students when I was a teacher, and now to my department as a fire fighter."
Nathan Carr
Las Cruces Fire Dept.

“One of the greatest seminars I have ever attended in the 33 years I’ve been a Deputy.”
Walter Bolinger
Sergeant
Marion County Sheriff’s Office, IN

"I was so impressed by the (Police Dynamics) program that I purchased your video tape series. All Grand County Sheriff’s Employees subsequently viewed the tapes, and I have also mandated that all new Sheriff’s Employees watch it as well."
Glen Trainor
Undersheriff
Grand County Sheriff’s Office

"It is with much enthusiasm that I encourage senior law enforcement executives to make attending the Police Dynamics seminar a key training priority for your agency."
DeWayne Beggs
Sheriff
Cleveland County, OK
former 2nd VP - National Sheriff's Association

"I am convinced of the benefits of the Police Dynamics program."
Jerry Martin
Sheriff
Delores County, CO
former Pres - County Sheriff's of Colorado

"Honestly, I’ve not been more impressed with a police training that I’ve attended in the last 20 years..."
Tom McClain
Chief of Police
Willard, MO

"I am a firm believer that Police Dynamics and Character First! equip the men and women that work for the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office to do their job and do it better."
John Whetsel
Sheriff
Oklahoma County, OK

"If you believe that good character is an essential element in policing, you will want to send your key staff to Police Dynamics."
David Williams
Sheriff
Tarrant County, TX

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
Rodney Ray
City Manager
Owasso, OK

"This course was one of the best training sessions that I’ve been through. This concept will benefit me and the staff in my division."
Police Dynamics participant

[We have] more awareness of the preventative benefits of a character initiative as opposed to the typical reactive approach to situations. There is a sense of excitement by organization leaders as they begin to see a change in their culture. Bob Powell
Character Council
Fort Collins, CO

"[The Police Dynamics training] brings us closer together, more like a family … it reminds us of why we’re out there and what it’s about.”
Captain John Decker
Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, SC

"This class gave me the vocabulary that I have been looking for to praise and motivate my employees."
Police Dynamics participant

"We’ve built a much better relationship with each other. We’ve seen a decrease in complaints. We’ve become a family instead of a place to work."
Sheriff Howie Godwin
Highlands County, FL

“This shows us a new approach to recognize employees’ character traits - and to acknowledge them for those good traits versus, 'You did an excellent job…' It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"The Police Dynamics training that Ray Nash brought teaches the things that are at the core of being a good police officer – being trustworthy, being of good character…"
Sgt. Julie Shearer
Cincinnati Police Div.

“In the Police Dynamics training seminar, the officers are able to set a standard in their own lives of the kind of character they want to see in their community."
Chaplain Carl Nelson
Colorado Springs Police Department

"Character is the solution to the real problem in our community of crime. Character supplies the answer."
Hon. F.A. Schad
Former Judge
Burleson, TX

“I want you to know that my international and national career was very much influenced by your lessons and knowing you was of paramount importance for my job and career. Many Romanian police officers are grateful to you and to Character training."
Teofil Parasca
Assistant Superintendent
Arad County Police
Romania

"I would like to work more toward management by principles instead of rules – with an emphasis on character and guiding principles."
Chief Lynn Williams
Chickasha, OK

“We need to return to our basic character traits that made this country great. Ray Nash has the program to do it."
Police Dynamics participant

"This shows us a new approach to recognize those employees’ character traits and to recognize and acknowledge them for those good traits versus, “You did an excellent job…” It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
Rodney Ray
City Manager
Owasso, OK

"Absolutely fantastic! It reminded me of why I wanted to be a peace officer."
Police Dynamics participant

"the finest value-added training anywhere."
Sheriff David Williams
Tarrant County, TX

"We continue to benefit from your teaching and hire with a strong emphasis on character."
Chief Tom McClain
Willard, MO

"Once again, I feel absolutely indebted to you for the program you have developed and your desire to change the world through the building of better law enforcement officers."
Glen P. Trainor
Undersheriff
Grand County, CO

"Sheriff Ray Nash is an internationally recognized speaker that you and your staff will learn powerful principles from, while enjoying the lesson."
DeWayne Beggs
Sheriff
Cleveland County, OK

"Very comprehensive, a great resource manual for the future. The seminar was dynamic in every way. What a great resource for people throughout their day-to-day routines.”
Doug Carter
Trooper
Indiana State Police