Unresolved anger is one of the most prevalent problems in law enforcement. 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 a right to get angry is power under control and shows genuine meekness – a powerful character quality for any professional police officer to possess.
I recently had the opportunity to present Police Dynamics training to about 160 fellow members of the National Internal Affairs Investigators Association at their annual conference in Tampa. NIAIA promotes the highest standards of integrity and professional ethics in the law enforcement community and provides technical support and professional development for IA investigators. Although they are often viewed as pariahs, IA investigators play a crucial role in promoting the noble virtues of the police profession.
I decided to kick off my portion of the training with a compelling video dealing with police abuse of force. In light of recent events in Ferguson, MO, it seemed particularly relevant to the audience. Although the video seems to be biased against law enforcement, the lyrics are clever and the images are disturbing to those of us who promote high standards for the police profession.
Is this perception or reality? Probably some of both. But to change perception you have to start by changing the reality. And the reality is that the public is becoming less trustful of the police and increasingly concerned about an “over-militarization” of police tactics. Answers to these problems may seem to be elusive, but Police Dynamics provides an ethical foundation for moral policing that impacts perception as well as reality.
As an aside, I am putting together the Police Dynamics schedule for 2015. So if your agency is interested in hosting a conference similar to the one we did for NIAIA, please contact me through this website…
Sheriff Ray Nash
Unfulfilled expectations damage relationships. This is a fundamental truth. So as a law enforcement officer entering into a contact with a citizen, you must understand that they have certain expectations about who you are and how you will perform as a police officer. Unfortunately, the citizen’s expectations may be very unrealistic. Therefore, it is up to you to ground their expectations in reality by first telling them what you are going to do, then doing it. It sounds overly simplistic, but it is a powerful principle that we often overlook. Plus we have a word to describe people who do what they say they are going to do. We say they have a lot of integrity, which is the first essential ingredient for building trust and generating public support.
Once you have established control over their expectations, it is up to you to very methodically meet those expectations. Then go one step further and exceed those expectations. I call this a WOW experience. WOW experiences translate into public support. However, if you fail to meet their expectations, that is an OW experience! And those hurt. They siphon trust out of the relationship.
So my challenge to law enforcement officers all over the world when I conduct Police Dynamics training is to avoid giving anyone an OW experience. But try to give someone at least one WOW experience everyday. In that way you will exponentially begin to build public support and confidence in your agency and the law enforcement profession in general.
Many thanks to Perry Piper for serving as my videographer while I was at Lake Tahoe to record this police training video.
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 have been remiss in keeping the Police Dynamics website updated largely due to the new private investigative business that I recently founded, Focal Point Investigations. And I am going to renege again by once again deferring to my friend and colleague Lloyd Thomas for this latest post. His comments are always insightful, thought-provoking, and consistent with the character-based message of Police Dynamics. I hope you enjoy…
CREATE THE LIFE OF YOUR DREAMS By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
In last week’s column, I wrote about the process of transforming your life. I received many responses that essentially complained that the column was too “complicated” or “too abstract.” So today, I write about some practical steps you can take to engage in that “transformational process” more easily. Here are some of the practical principles for creating the life of your dreams.
1. Consciously choose what you really want. Dream boldly and positively. With photographic clarity, imagine your life the way you want it to be. Trust your own ability to create the life you desire.
2. Always tell the truth. Directly and candidly speak and write only what you believe to be true. Be honest with yourself. Seek the truth about yourself, others and the world. Make certain that what you speak is borne out in how you act.
3. Focus on becoming a Lover in Life. (more…)
A friend and colleague of mine from Colorado, Dr. Lloyd Thomas, is a licensed psychologist, accomplished author, and life coach. He recently posted an article on Effective Family Leadership. The principles are so consistent with Police Dynamics and other principles of organizational leadership that I asked him for permission to include them on the Police Dynamics site, which he graciously granted. Since it is the day after Father’s Day, I thought it was particularly appropriate to post this new video today…
To subscribe to Dr. Thomas’ weekly leadership newsletter, go to: http://lists.webvalence.com/listmgr/subscribe?lists=practical_life_coaching
You can find his book, “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” on Amazon.com.
Here is the complete text of Dr. Thomas’ article:
EFFECTIVE FAMILY LEADERSHIP
By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Whether you like it or not, when you become a parent you become the leader of your family. Children learn by observation and imitation. Parents are the “models” that children first observe and begin to imitate. You need to engage in the behavior you want your children to imitate and learn. As a parent, you become your children’s primary leader. It is a powerful and often difficult responsibility.
Most of us never learned the skills of effective leadership. In our culture, we have been regularly exposed to the notion that we should become “child-centered” or that “children should always come first.” If we make children the leaders of our families, our family structure will disintegrate. As parents, it is not our job to imitate our children. It is not our job to behave like children. It is not our job to be our children’s “best friend.” It is not our job to adapt to their behavior…it is their job to adapt to ours.
As parents, we need to become fully responsible leaders…responsible first for our own health and well being. Otherwise, we offer less than healthy leadership to our children. Teaching our children leadership and self-responsibility is only accomplished by becoming the best example of leadership and self-responsibility ourselves.
Here are ten time-honored principles of effective leadership. To become your children’s best leader, learn and practice these principles.
1. Your children are sometimes illogical, unreasonable, self-centered, disobedient, stubborn, and defiant. Love them anyway. (more…)
After my unsuccessful run for Congress, I finally got around to recording a new Police Dynamics training video. I based this one on a post by Dan Weigold on his blog Coach With Heart. I’ve been following Coach Weigold’s blog for a few years and we have sometimes “chatted” about principles of ethical leadership. And his recent post on Authentic Leadership is so consistent with the principles of Police Dynamics and the SHIELD Program teachings on Reflective Leadership that I asked him for permission to use it in this training session.
Coach Weigold identifies six components of authentic leadership (the components are his and the commentary mine)…
1. Compelling vision (does it inspire others, creating meaning)
The ability to impart vision is a key leadership skill that is often overlooked. A carefully crafted vision and mission statement, founded on the core values of an organization, are essential for inspiring others and setting expectations. For those of you interested in building a culture of character within your agency, I suggest you take this vision-crafting process one step further by identifying 10 essential character qualities that you consider absolutely critical for success and include them in your policy or standards manual.
2. Employee input and participation (leaders need to listen) (more…)
I’ve posted insights from my former Chief of Staff, Barney Barnes, before (we had the running joke that every Sheriff needs a Barney…). In his retirement, he has taken up his passion for writing, including an awesome book (that I highly recommend) called Born to Be a Warrior.
This past Memorial Day, Barney penned the following piece on the Warrior Code that I thought would be particularly fitting for the Police Dynamics site because it incorporates so much of the character-based principles necessary to be a great leader.
The Warrior Code
“The warrior code takes a soldier and makes him a knight. It connects the natural life of a fighter to the supernatural understanding of the warrior calling. His duties are transformed into holy sacrifices; his sense of self is reformed into the image of the servant in pursuit of valor. He becomes part of a fellowship, a noble tradition that flows thru him and carries him beyond the mediocre and the vain.” – Steven Mansfield, The Faith of the American Soldier
I have worn a warrior suit, of one form or another, most of my adult life–first as a navy pilot, then state guardsman and law enforcement official. Now at age 66 I can say, without reservation, that Steven Mansfield has uncovered a great truth. In fact, the truth of his statement transcends historical and cultural divides.
A warrior code is necessary in our fallen world because of the presence of evil and the chaos and violence it produces. We become aware of this violence early on in the Genesis text. In chapter 4, we learn the details of a homicide in which Cain, in an outburst of anger, murders his brother Abel. This violence continues today often serving as the lead story on local, national, and international news reports from around the world. (more…)