Category Archives: Dynamic of Restoration

As law enforcement and public safety officials, we are often called upon to mediate conflicts.

These conflicts can be internal between officers, or external between members of the public, or a combination of the two where an officer has a conflict with a citizen. By applying the character quality of forgiveness to a conflict resolution strategy, many conflicts can be resolved effectively. When I was first exposed to this technique, I was skeptical, and even thought it was a bit hokey. But after using it several times, and NEVER having it fail, I became convinced of its power as a conflict mediation technique.


Unforgiveness results in many of the internal conflicts, relationship issues, grudges, and job-related stress that plague our law enforcement and public safety agencies. Join me for a thought experiment that shows the power of forgiveness.

FORGIVENESS
Clearing the record of wrongs and refusing to hold a grudge

Level 1 Forgiveness is hard enough. But can you make it to Level 2? Or would you rather keep drinking the “cup of bitterness?” And don’t confuse forgiveness with pardon. Let me know what you think.


In this short video recorded at a recent Police Dynamics conference hosted by the Brownsburg, IN Police Department, I emphasize that fact that failure to clearly articulate a standard is a leadership failure. Then explore the definition of the character-based standard of Obedience.

OBEDIENCE:
Quickly fulfilling the expectations of my authorities while guarding my attitude.

The first part of E5 Leadership is to Establish the Standard. Standards in the law enforcement profession tend to be performance, behavior, or achievement-based standards. But Credible Leadership requires that we establish character-based standards. The second step in E5 Leadership is to Embrace the Standard. This has to do with communicating the standard at every level. The character-based standard should be reinforced through selection, training, officer recognition, promotion, discipline, terminations, critical incident debriefings and every other aspect you can think of.

To learn more about the character quality of Obedience as it applies to a law enforcement agency, click on the pdf below…Obedience Bulletin_3

Source: Character First, Oklahoma City, OK


Unresolved anger is one of the most prevalent problems in law enforcement today. It can lead to all sorts of ethical failures by our police, including abuse of force, unlawful arrests, and a myriad of other constitutional and ethical violations. Giving up your right to get angry is power under control and shows genuine meekness – a powerful character quality for any professional police officer to possess. And in light of recent events questioning police use of force, this video that I recorded in Cancun a few years ago seems particularly timely and relevant. Please let me know what you think.


The Wounded Spirit is the one who always gets his feelings hurt…and over some of the silliest things! In our first video in the Dynamic of Restoration series, we learned that a person out from under authority has learned to deflect the truth by assigning blame to others. So it is easy for them to develop a Wounded Spirit that can only be cured by developing the character quality of Forgiveness

FORGIVENESS
Clearing the record of wrongs and refusing to hold a grudge 

This is perhaps the most difficult character quality of all because it absolutely goes against our human nature. Yet, just like Attentiveness is the key to learning, Forgiveness is the key to restoring relationships.

The “brotherhood” of law enforcement is somewhat unique in that we are willing to lay down our lives for our fellow officers…even if we don’t like them very much! “No greater love hath a man than this, that he is willing to lay down his life for his friend…” Doesn’t this give us the basis for a relationship? Yet so many of us continue to hold grudges.  But forgiveness is such a better option for everyone.

Don’t confuse forgiveness with pardon, however. Forgiveness is about restoring a relationship, not necessarily absolving someone of the consequences of their behavior.

Level 1 Forgiveness is when you are willing to forgive someone who has wronged you if they come to you in a genuine spirit of repentance and say the seven hardest words to say in the English language: “I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” Many of us would be willing to forgive the person if they came to us in that manner and we really perceived they were sincere. As hard as THAT is, Level 2 Forgiveness is much more difficult. That’s when you just make a decision to forgive the person even if they never ask…! Or would you prefer to continue to drink the cup of bitterness…? It’s up to you…

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These two terms are often misunderstood to mean the same thing. They rhyme, but that’s about all they have in common. Meekness means power under the control of character. In Part 3 of the Dynamic of Restoration we look at Meekness as the critical character quality for restoring the Bitter Spirit.

Meekness
Yielding my personal rights and expectations with a desire to serve others 

Why do we get mad? Usually it’s because we perceive that someone else has violated one of our personal rights. Whether they cut us off in traffic, steal “our” parking space, or cut in line at the grocery store, we tend to get mad because we perceive they have stepped on one of our rights. If they cut in line behind us, we don’t get mad. We think that’s funny because now they have stepped on someone else’s rights!

A meek person has learned to yield his “rights” to emotional, sensual, and material satisfaction (read that anger, lust, and greed – the three root character flaws) and be released from the accompanying anger and bitterness.

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By definition, the Unrestorable Spirit is just that — unrestorable. He refuses to be restored and enjoys being a Renegade. Outside of divine intervention, they are a lost cause. However, there is great hope for the other Renegade Spirits. Starting with the Rebellious Spirit, lets look at a character-based approach to restoration.

First of all, definitions are critically important. If we are going to incorporate character-based standards into our progressive discipline model, we have to be particularly careful to define and articulate the standard. Normally, we might define Obedience this way: “following the instructions of someone in authority…” But this is a behavior-based definition and it is very superficial. I like this character-based definition of Obedience better:

Quickly and cheerfully fulfilling the expectations of my authorities

Notice that “fulfilling expectations” is different than “following instructions.” It is entirely possible to be technically obedient in actions and be totally rebellious in attitude. We define character as “the internal motivation to do the right thing regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the costs.” A truly obedient person obeys in both action and attitude. And a good supervisor must have the discernment to look below the surface of behavior to determine the true attitude of the heart.

In this video, I also use a humorous example to illustrate how Problem-Oriented Policing can actually backfire on us if we do not communicate our expectations properly.

NOTE: I just returned from Romania this morning after conducting a number of Police Dynamics training sessions at the invitation of the Romanian National Police and their National Anti-Drug Agency. I hope to post some new videos and photos from there in the coming weeks…

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In Part 1 of the Dynamic of Restoration, we take a closer look at the downward steps in the Path of Destruction. Identifying where an officer is on this path is the key to their restoration. And one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves is “where am I on this path…”

The Dynamic of Restoration builds on the ethical foundation of the Dynamic of Authority. Once a law enforcement officer develops an Independent Spirit and steps out from under authority, there are certain predictable patterns of behavior that can begin to manifest in his life. Ultimately, these behaviors can lead to death. Independent Spirits are very good at deflecting the truth by assigning blame to others. That leaves them open to the three root character flaws – anger, lust, and greed.

The downward progression of the Path of Destruction can be seen in this Dynagram.

Restoration - Path of Destruction

Path of Destruction

As you can see, it closely mirrors the Five Types of Offenders that we covered in the Dynamics of Discretion, Compliance, and Discipline.

Blaming others for your problems, rather than taking personal responsibility which is the path of character, can lead to a Wounded Spirit. This in turn can lead to a Bitter Spirit, and bitterness can destroy you. Pretty soon, the officer is no longer content to get mad. They want to get even! That’s the Rebellious Spirit. Ultimately, this can lead to an Unrestorable Spirit, who is by definition beyond restoration. In the next episode, we will look at how to restore these renegades by applying specific character-based principles.

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And don’t forget to check out the Professional Development Resources
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One of my former deputies wrote a research paper for his college course on ethics training. He included a section about his experiences with the Sheriff’s Office that I thought you might enjoy reading. His comments are about our philosophy regarding policies:

I had the privilege of working for a great sheriff in Dorchester County, SC. When I started working for Sheriff Ray Nash, I had just transfered from a much larger agency where everything was controlled by the policy manual and if you made a decision that a person of higher rank did not approve of, they would pour over the policy manual, which was in excess of three inches thick, to see if they could find something to punish you for “ethically.”

My Dorchester County policy manual (was so thin it) looked like a church bulletin —  it was less than 20 pages long and in paperback. Sheriff Nash’s philosophy was to give his employees a few concrete moral lessons and then take those lessons out into the field and make our decisions not based on just a policy manual and the law, but on ethical principles. His belief was if you make ethically and morally correct decisions then those decisions will (also) be legally correct and will not violate policy. It is a philosophy I still carry with me today…

Richard Vaughn


I appreciate his understanding of this important topic. Policies are important and you have to have them in a high liability profession like law enforcement. But I also believe that it is impossible to write a policy for every conceivable situation an officer might find himself in. Some of us have attempted to do so and that’s why our policy manuals look like an encyclopedia volume!

I much prefer to focus on principles. Because I believe it is possible to articulate a much smaller number of ethical principles that will guide officers through a myriad of situations that they might find themselves in. That’s what Police Dynamics is — my effort to articulate these principles that govern our relationships and the profession of law enforcement.

Sheriff Ray


The Dead Sea is the lowest spot on the face of Planet Earth at an elevation 1300 feet BELOW sea level. So, on average, it has the highest atmospheric pressure of any place on Earth. This gave me a perfect opportunity to talk about the high stress of the law enforcement profession. Police officers and their families are under some unique types of pressure. Police officers routinely say that the part of their job that stresses them the most is not what most people think…

Sheriff Ray Nash

Sheriff Ray Nash

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The Benefits of Good Character
49 Character Qualities
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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