Category Archives: The Character Connection
Seasoned law enforcement leaders recognize that there is an intricate link between officer morale and performance. Consequently, the morale of any law enforcement agency impacts the crime rate.
Those of us in police leadership must be actively engaged in showing our police officers, deputy sheriffs, and correctional officers that they are appreciated, encouraged, and motivated to fight crime and maintain the law, order, health, safety, and morals of their communities, whether on the streets or inside the detention facility. Making the Character Connection by praising them for the character quality that produced outstanding achievement is an excellent way of improving morale and fighting crime. Remember,
“Failure to Motivate Is Failure to Lead.”
I paused during a recent hiking trip at Lake Tahoe to record this video on the definition of the word Sincerity.
Character First defines Sincerity as eagerly doing what is right with transparent motives. Lake Tahoe has some of the purest water on the face of the earth, up to 99.994% pure and totally transparent. Although the etymology of the word sincerity is disputed, one legend it that it comes from two Latin words – sine and cere – which mean “without wax.”
As the story goes, the Greeks made the best pottery in the land. In an attempt to mimic their success, certain Roman potters copied the Greeks but had inferior materials and/or craftsmanship. Consequently, their pots would come out of the kiln with cracks. Some unscrupulous potters would coat their pots with wax, filling in the cracks, then paint the exterior so you could not see the defects. Then some unsuspecting customer would purchase the pot. But when they “popped it in the microwave” to heat some food, the wax would melt and the cracks would become obvious.
Certain Roman potters, however, became quite skilled at their craft, making pots free of cracks. So they would post a sign in the marketplace that said, “For Sale – Sine Cere Pots,” pots without wax. So the word sincerity became associated with a mark of quality.
In the same way, if there are defects in our character, they tend to manifest themselves when we are under pressure. A sincere person has a transparency of motives. There is no hidden agenda. In the words of Flip Wilson, “What you see is what you get!” That’s the essence of sincerity.
So, the next time you sign a letter or email with the word “Sincerely,” pause to reflect on what it means.
Sheriff Ray Nash
Police Dynamics Institute
I know, I know… It’s been over 9 months since I last posted a Police Dynamics video. Forgive me for being preoccupied with my new business at Focal Point Investigations. However, a recent Police Dynamics seminar for the SC Litter Control Association in Myrtle Beach has revitalized my commitment to training in the character-based principles of Police Dynamics. I want to get back in the swing of things by posting some new videos and letting my subscribers and viewers know that I am available for live Police Dynamics training if your agency is interested.
In the meantime, enjoy this training video on Boldness and the victory at Fort Moultrie…
Outgunned 10 to 1, the brave Patriots at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island, SC made a bold stand in 1776 against seemingly insurmountable odds. As police officers and government leaders, we can learn a valuable lesson about the importance of having the moral courage to stand for what is true, right, just, and constitutional…
Many thanks to my videographer and partner from Afghanistan, Gary Curry, for his assistance in producing this law enforcement training video.
I was recently discussing with a viewer of the Police Dynamics website about incorporating character-based principles into tactical debriefings. Here is a series of short videos that demonstrate how to make the “character connection” in tactical debriefings, roll call training, and in-service training sessions. The first is a re-enactment of a canine-tracking exercise, followed by a roll call session featuring Lt. “Poncho” Villa, and then a couple of character recognitions with Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office personnel.
(Sadly, Michael Deese, the deputy on the front row/right side, was killed, along with his canine partner, in a tragic car crash some time after this video was filmed …)
There are essentially three keys to building a Culture of Character within any organization:
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I was home on leave for 2 weeks and then traveled to Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico last week to film some more Police Dynamics training videos. So now you know why I haven’t posted any new police or leadership training videos for the last few weeks. Here is the first one from Cancun on Discernment.
The character quality of discernment is defined by the Character Training Institute as:
Understanding the deeper reasons why things happen
It’s like wearing a SCUBA diving mask so you can see below the surface more clearly. This is an essential quality for a leader, a supervisor, an investigator, a patrol officer, or even a parent to possess.
So much of what we do in the leadership and law enforcement arenas deals with behavior. (more…)
Like many things in life, even our character can get out of balance. For instance, the character qualities of Attentiveness (showing the worth of a person, idea, or task by giving it my undivided concentration) and Alertness (being aware of my surroundings so I can have the right response) must remain in balance. If I am so focused on you that I fail to notice a fire starting in the corner of the room, my character is out of balance. In the same way, if I am so hyper-vigilant that I cannot focus on you and what you are saying, my character is out of balance. The same thing applies to Truthfulness (earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts) and Discretion (avoiding words, actions, and attitudes that could have undesirable consequences). I can be so truthful that I unnecessarily hurt the feelings of a friend or reveal information that could place someone else in jeopardy.
Recently, I gave a character recognition to one of my colleagues with the International Police Coordination Board (IPCB) for his Availability (making my own agenda secondary to those I serve) and Dependability (fulfilling what I consented to do even if it means unexpected sacrifice). He later told me that these character qualities often get him in trouble because he spends so much time helping others that he neglects his own work. Then, he has to take his work home and neglects time with his wife and family. His character is out of balance. His Availability and Dependability are HUGE character qualities that define who he is as a true man of integrity. But they must be balanced with Discretion and Attentiveness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perceiving the true attitudes and emotions of those around me.
Think about it from a street survival perspective for a minute. Perceiving the true attitudes and emotions of a criminal suspect can be the difference in life or death. We call it “street savvy” or “street sense,” but the character quality of sensitivity can give you more protection on the street than your ballistic vest…!
(Which I am grateful to have when I am roaming around the streets of Afghanistan…)